Who Is Oscar Issac?
Born in 1979 in Guatemala, actor Oscar Isaac loved to act and make music while growing up in Miami, Florida. After graduating from the Juillard School, he landed roles in such films as Robin Hood (2010) and Drive (2011). In 2013, Isaac starred in the critically acclaimed Inside Llewyn Davis, for which he received a Golden Globe nod. He later won a Golden Globe for his role in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, and was prominently featured in the Star Wars films The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017).
Oscar Isaac Hernandez was born in Guatemala on March 9, 1979, 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. However, he 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. In 2008, he appeared in Steven Soderbergh's biographical drama Che, as well as Body of Lies, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
In 2009, Isaac starred opposite Rachel Weisz in the Roman-era drama Agora and also had a leading role in the true-life thriller Balibo, with Anthony LaPaglia. 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.
'Inside Llewyn Davis' and 'Show Me a Hero'
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, loosely based on the life of musician Dave Von Ronk. For his audition, Isaac studied Von Ronk's distinctive musical style, called Travis picking. He also took guitar lessons from another musician who had 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, leading to Isaac's first Golden Globe Award nomination.
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, he starred in HBO's Show Me a Hero as Nick Wasicsko, who became the youngest-ever mayor of the city of Yonkers before his surprising death at age 34. For his powerful performance, Issac claimed a Golden Globe for best actor in a miniseries.
'Star Wars' and Other Sci-Fi Films
Isaac also dove headfirst into the world of sci-fi in 2015, as seen with his turn as an unethical artificial intelligence CEO in Ex Machina. Later that year, Isaac thrilled viewers across the globe as dashing pilot Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
In 2016, Issac joined another major film franchise in X-Men: Apocalypse, playing the titular supervillain. The following year, he rejoined the side of cinema's good guys by reprising the role of Poe in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Outside of acting, Isaac performs and records as a part of a duo called NightLab.
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