Sheridan made his feature film debut in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, with Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn, after an almost year-long casting search of more than 10,000 children from Texas and Oklahoma. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to be awarded the prestigious Palme d'Or and be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2012, he played the leading role of Ellis in Jeff Nichols' Mud opposite Jacob Lofland and Matthew McConaughey. The coming-of-age drama-thriller film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Sheridan received a Critics' Choice Award nomination.
Sheridan also plays Gary Jones in the film Joe, which stars Nicolas Cage playing an ex-con who meets a 15-year-old boy, the eldest child in a homeless family headed by an alcoholic father, and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin. For his role he received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best upcoming young actor at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.
In 2014, he played Will Cutter in the film The Forger, from a script by Richard D’Ovidio, which stars John Travolta. The film follows former child art prodigy and art forger Ray Cutter (Travolta), who arranges to buy his way out of prison so he can spend time with his ailing son (Sheridan) and father (Plummer), only to be forced to change his plans and commit one last big job for the syndicate that financed his early release.
In 2015, Sheridan starred in the three films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He co-starred opposite Gregg Turkington and Michael Cera in the drama Entertainment, played a prisoner in the film adaptation of The Stanford Prison Experiment, and appeared in Rodrigo Garcia's drama Last Days in the Desert opposite Ewan McGregor, released May 2016. That year, he also had a supporting role in the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and the leading role in the horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Sheridan played the mutant Scott Summers / Cyclops in the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse, released on May 27. In 2017, he starred in the war drama The Yellow Birds, opposite Alden Ehrenreich, Jack Huston and Jennifer Aniston. Also that year, Sheridan co-starred with Kaitlyn Dever in Grass Stains, a film written and directed by Kyle Wilamowski. He plays a teen discovering his first love (Dever). When a prank goes awry and causes the death of his girlfriend's older brother, the boy must balance his secret guilt with his feelings for the girl.
In 2018, Sheridan played Wade Watts, a.k.a. Parzival, the lead character, in Steven Spielberg's science fiction film Ready Player One, which was released on March 29.
Sheridan reprised the role of Scott Summers / Cyclops in the 2019 film Dark Phoenix.
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