Born in 1979 in Guatemala, actor Oscar Isaac loved to act and make music growing up in Miami, Florida. He landed a number of film roles after graduating from the Juillard School in 2005. Isaac played Joseph in 2006's The Nativity Story. He then went on to supporting parts in such films as Robin Hood (2010), Drive (2011) and W.E. (2011). In 2013, Isaac starred in the critically acclaimed Inside Llewyn Davis, for which he received a Golden Globe nod. He has been featured in other lauded projects like A Most Violent Year (2014), Ex Machina (2015) and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), and won a Golden Globe for the HBO mini-series Show Me a Hero (2015).
Oscar Isaac Hernandez was born on March 9, 1979, in Guatemala to a Cuban father and Guatemalan mother. Growing up in Miami, Florida, Isaac developed a passion for music and acting early on, with he and his sister staging plays in their backyard.
In his teens, Isaac also performed in bands as a singer and guitarist. He played with the ska-punk outfit the Blinking Underdogs, which developed a following. Isaac, however, put his music to the side after being accepted to the famed Juilliard School's acting program. While a student there, he worked on one of his first films, All About the Benjamins (2002).
Rising Film Talent
After graduating from Juilliard in 2005, Isaac landed a major part in The Nativity Story (2006). He and Keisha Castle-Hughes star as Joseph and Mary in this biblical tale. Before long, Isaac returned to the big screen, albeit in small roles. He appeared in such films as Steven Soderbergh's biographical drama Che and Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
In 2009, Isaac starred opposite Rachel Weisz in the Roman era drama Agora. He also had a leading role in the true life thriller Balibo with Anthony LaPaglia the following year. Moving on to mainstream fare, Isaac showed his dark side as the evil King John in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, again starring Crowe, in 2010.
For Sucker Punch (2011), a dark action fantasy film, Isaac had an opportunity to showcase his singing talents, singing a cover of Roxy Music's "Love Is the Drug." For the romantic comedy 10 Years (2011), Isaac did double duty as an actor and a singer as well. That same year he also had supporting roles in the crime drama Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and the biographical romance W.E., by Madonna.
Critically Acclaimed Actor
For Inside Llewyn Davis, Isaac brought his two passions to the title role. Joel and Ethan Coen had searched far and wide for a musician who acts or an actor with musical talent for their 1960s drama about a performer in the Greenwich Village folk scene. (The film is loosely based on the life of musician Dave Von Ronk.) For his audition tape, Isaac studied Von Ronk's distinctive musical style, called Travis picking. He was also able to take guitar lessons from another musician who had actually played with Von Ronk.
The Coen brothers were extremely impressed with Isaac and cast him as Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk musician. The film opened in December 2013 to warm reviews and Isaac received his first Golden Globe Award nomination. He received another Globe nod in 2015 for his role as Yonkers mayor Nick Wasicsko in the HBO mini-series Show Me a Hero, winning the award the following year.
In 2014, Isaac portrayed an ambitious businessman who runs into trouble while running a heating oil company in A Most Violent Year, co-starring Jessica Chastain. The following year saw Isaac inhabiting the world of sci-fi, as seen with his turn as an unethical artificial intelligence CEO in Ex Machina. Later in 2015, Isaac thrilled viewers across the globe playing pilot Poe Dameron in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. He is also slated to appear as the title villain in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse.
Outside of acting, Isaac performs and records as a part of a duo called NightLab.
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