Cillian Murphy did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jackson "Jack" Rippner in Red Eye.
The first half of the original trailer for Red Eye actually plays as a romantic comedy, this is made possible by the first act of the film where we get a meet cute between Lisa and a stranger well waiting in the airport. Unfortunately for her the stranger is named Jack Rippner a name almost as ridiculous as KILLian Murphy. Seriously though Murphy actually gets a bit of chance to show his range beyond the expected as Jack attempts to befriend Lisa. Murphy actually is quite the capable charmer. Murphy proves that he could have been in the airplane set romance instead, as he does have the requisite charisma needed. He makes it absolutely convincing that Jack could get into Lisa's good graces, even though Murphy does have just enough fun when alluding to the character's true nature such as his devious glance when claiming he killed his parents for naming him Jack, all in jest of course. Murphy successfully builds the relationship even as he slowly creates a growing sense of warmth and concern in Jack as he continues to speak to Lisa, and even attempts to comfort her to help her through her fear of flying. Of course this all to set up the turn as Jack suddenly reveals his true intention, and Murphy calls upon his side he also showed in his other villainous turn in 05 as Jonathan Crane aka the Scarecrow in Batman Begins.
Jack initiates his plan which involves forcing Lisa, by threatening to have her father killed, to change a VIP's hotel room in order to position him for an assassination. Murphy is great in the turn as he switches so effortlessly from calmly charming to an incisive menace. Murphy in this role is not merely giving the same performance as in Batman Begins. As Crane in Batman Begins, Murphy emphasized a more outward creepiness portraying him as essentially a psychopath just holding it together enough to be psychiatrist. Murphy's approach here is different, though he certainly makes Jack creepy, he presents a man who does not necessarily take that much pleasure in what he does, but rather has a job to do and knows how to do it. Murphy though instead is rather chilling by showing the directness of the man as part of his plan is to make sure that Lisa complies due to fear of what he might do. Murphy creates the tension so well by bringing this off putting conviction in Jack as he goes about his plan. Murphy commands the scenes so effectively as he shows Jack switching to accommodate the situation. This includes going back to the charmer when interacting with the other passengers, but there's more to it. In his interactions with McAdams Murphy is terrific the way he manipulates every moment.
When it seems like he's getting Lisa going along, Murphy becomes almost soothing, as Jack essentially tells her it will all be over soon enough, however when she attempts to thwart him Murphy brings the real viciousness in Jack with such ease to get her to be complacent once again. Murphy is careful, in these scenes anyways, to never make Jack one note. He emphasizes the professionalism, so to speak, and never makes him just simply evil. There is just the slightest hint of humanity, perhaps a trick to make things easier, that Murphy brings in a few reactionary moments suggesting Jack has no real ill will towards her, her father or even the target, he just is doing his job. Unfortunately the film kind of falls apart once the plane lands and Lisa stabs Jack in the throat to stop his plan. The film explodes with a whole bunch of goofy moments and a general ridiculousness, and any nuance Murphy brought to Jack is lost. I don't believe this is Murphy fault mind you, in terms of what he's given to do, it basically is run after McAdams with a weapon while getting into more slapstick than one of the Three Stooges. Murphy is not even allowed to speak normally, needing to speak with cracked voice of man with throat injury. The character becomes what he might have been if a weaker actor had been in the role which just a straightforward violent killer. Murphy is more than fine in terms of going through these motions, but seems a bit of waste of the better villain he had established beforehand. Of course this is out of Murphy's hands, and he deserves credit for his very compelling work up until that point. Murphy gives a strong performance that elevates the film, the film unfortunately ends up falling a bit too far for him to be able to prop it up.