Oscar Isaac Hernandez Estrada, popularly known as Oscar Isaac, is a Guatemalan-American actor. He first rose to prominence when he portrayed Saint Joseph in the biblical film The Nativity Story (2006), and subsequently appeared in supporting roles in films like Agora (2009), Balibo (2009) and Drive (2011). Isaac`s breakout role came with the 2013 comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis
, where his portrayal of a struggling musician earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Since then, Isaac has appeared in critically acclaimed films like A Most Violent Year (2014) and Ex Machina
(2015), and blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(2015) and X-Men: Apocalypse
(2016). In 2016, Isaac won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series for his performance in the historical drama series Show Me a Hero.
Oscar Isaac was born in Guatemala to Maria Eugenia Estrada Nicolle and Oscar Gonzalo Hernandez-Cano. Isaac`s mother was a Guatemalan, while his father was a pulmonologist hailing from Cuba. The family moved to U.S. in 1979, and Isaac was raised in Miami, Florida, where he enrolled at the Westminster Christian School. While in school, his unruly behaviour often landed Isaac in trouble with the authorities and he was eventually expelled.
Isaac soon joined the Area Stage Company in Miami Beach, and simultaneously became the lead guitarist for the ska-punk band The Blinking Underdogs. In 2001, he gave up his musical aspirations when he was accepted to the Juilliard School - a famous performing arts conservatory in New York City.
Oscar Isaac is in a relationship with filmmaker Elvira Lind. In March 2017, it was announced that they were expecting their first child. The actor currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Isaac made his feature film debut with the 1998 film Illtown, which went largely unnoticed. Minor roles in the action-comedy All About the Benjamins (2002) and the direct-to-video feature Lenny the Wonder Dog (2004) were followed by a supporting role in The Half Life of Timofey Berezin (2006), a drama film about a man who goes to extreme lengths to secure the future of his family after being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. The 2006 biblical film The Nativity Story was the actor`s first significant film role, where he portrayed St. Joseph. In 2008, Isaac played the role of a UN interpreter in Steven Soderbergh`s two-part biopic on Ernesto Che Guevara, titled Che. In the following year, he appeared alongside Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella in the historical drama Agora (2009), which recounted the life and times of ancient mathematician and philosopher Hypatia. The war film Balibo, which came out in the same year, saw the actor essaying the role of East Timorese politician Jose Ramos-Horta. The film was well-received by the critics, and Isaac won an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his standout performance as Jose Ramos-Horta.
Subsequently, Isaac appeared in key supporting roles in the epic war drama film Robin Hood
(2010), the fantasy steampunk action film Sucker Punch
(2011) and the neo-noir crime film Drive
(2011), all of which went on to do well at the box office. Drive was especially well-received by the critics and the audience alike, and went on to earn an Academy Award nomination and four BAFTA nominations. The watershed moment in the actor`s career came with the 2013 Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, in which he played the titular character. The comedy-drama, which was inspired by the autobiography of folk singer Dave Van Ronk, followed the story of a struggling folk singer whose pursuit of his passion comes at a serious cost to his personal life. The film opened to rave reviews and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival that year, and Isaac`s performance was hailed as his career-best. Besides earning him the first Golden Globe nomination of his career, the performance also won him a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor. The thriller film The Two Faces of January and the crime-drama film A Most Violent Year were the actor`s two major releases in 2014. Both the films opened to positive reviews, and A Most Violent Year went on to win the National Board of Review Award for Best Film that year. The film also made it to several critics` Top Ten lists, and Isaac won a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor.
The sci-fi psychological thriller film Ex Machina (2015) saw Isaac playing Nathan Bateman - the reclusive yet brilliant CEO of a search engine company who becomes the victim of his own narcissism and abusive behaviour. The film opened to near-universal critical acclaim and went on to win Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, while Isaac won a Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role. In the same year, the actor landed the key role of Poe Dameron in the epic space opera film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was a direct sequel to the 1983 cult classic Return of the Jedi. The film received positive reviews and became a commercial juggernaut, earning over $2 billion at the box office worldwide. The characterisation of Isaac`s Poe Dameron drew favourable comparisons with Harrison Ford`s iconic Han Solo, and he is set to reprise the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
(2017). The actor added yet another global blockbuster to his resume in 2016, when he took on the role of chief antagonist En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) in the X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. Despite the mixed reviews, X-Men: Apocalypse grossed over $540 million at the box office.
The historical drama The Promise
, the George Clooney
directorial Suburbicon and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, all released in 2017. His 2019 works include The Addams Family and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
, the epic finale to the Star Wars saga.
Isaac made his television debut in 2006 with a guest role in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. In 2015, he starred in the critically acclaimed miniseries Show Me a Hero, which followed the real-life story of a city mayor`s struggle to restore order in a city torn apart by violence, racism and dirty politics in the 1980`s. For his portrayal of politician Nick Wasicsko, Isaac won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries, and was nominated for a Critics` Choice Television Award for Best Actor.