Oscar Isaac

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Oscar Isaac
Oscar Isaac by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada[1][2]
(1979-03-09) March 9, 1979 (age 38)[3]
Residence New York City, United States
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • musician
Years active 1998–present
Home town Miami, Florida, United States
Partner(s) Elvira Lind
Children 1

Oscar Isaac (born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada; March 9, 1979)[4][5][6] is a Guatemalan-American actor and musician. He has played lead film roles in the comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination, the crime drama A Most Violent Year (2014), and the science fiction thriller Ex Machina (2015), in which he played Nathan Hamlet Bateman. In 2006, he portrayed Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, in The Nativity Story. He also portrayed José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor, in the Australian film Balibo for which he won the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

He appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, and in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), as the titular mutant supervillain Apocalypse. He also headlined the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, as politician Nick Wasicsko in 2015, which earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film. In 2016, Time named Isaac one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.[7] In 2017 Isaac was described as the "best dang actor of his generation" by Vanity Fair.[8]

Early life[edit]

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada was born in Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother, María Eugenia Estrada Nicolle, and a Cuban pulmonologist father, Óscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano.[9][10] His maternal grandfather was French.[11] Isaac's family settled in the U.S. when he was five months old, and he was raised in Miami, Florida.[12][13][14] He has described his evangelical Protestant upbringing as "very Christian".

Isaac liked to cause trouble at his private grade school, Westminster Christian, when growing up. “I set off a fire extinguisher in the gym, defaced a mural, just stupid stuff,” he said in an interview.[15] He liked to make kids laugh. At one point, his teacher had to screen off his desk from the rest of the class with a piece of cardboard. Eventually, he was expelled.[16]

Isaac's entry into professional acting began at the Area Stage Company, Miami Beach, when Artistic Director John Rodaz cast him in a play.[17] He also acted in Miami-based City Theatre's Summer Shorts short play festival in 2000–2001. While in Miami, he played lead guitar and sang vocals for a ska-punk band The Blinking Underdogs.[18] Other band members included Nick Speck (bass), Bill Sommer (drums), Alan Mills (trombone), Keith Cooper (saxophone), and Matt LaPlant (guitar).[19] The band enjoyed some success, opening for Green Day[20] and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones[19]. Isaac spent his musical years living a "straight edge" lifestyle.[21][22][23] Isaac 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).

Isaac graduated from the Juilliard School in New York City, where he was part of the Drama Division's Group 34 (2001–2005).[24]


Isaac made his acting debut in the 1998 crime drama Illtown, credited as "Pool Boy".[25] Next, he appeared briefly in 2002's All About the Benjamins and made an appearance on the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent four years later.[26][27] Isaac garnered recognition in his first major film role in 2006 as Joseph in the biblical epic The Nativity Story, opposite Keisha Castle-Hughes.[28] He appeared as Romeo in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park performances of Romeo and Juliet and as Proteus in Two Gentlemen of Verona.[29]

Isaac was awarded the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor of 2009, for his role as José Ramos-Horta in Balibo (2009).[30] He had a small role in Guerrilla, Part Two of the Che Guevara biopic Che (2008).[31] Isaac played King John in the 2010 historical film Robin Hood.[32] He portrayed a security guard in the Madonna-directed film W.E. and starred in the crime drama Drive, both of which were released in September 2011.[31] He had a role in 10 Years, in which he played a musician. He performed his own song "Never Had" in the film. "Never Had" and "You Ain't Goin Nowhere" were included in the movie's soundtrack.[33]

Oscar Isaac performing at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, February 2015.

In 2013, Isaac starred in the dramatic comedy film Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by the Coen brothers, where he played a talented yet unsuccessful folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961.[34] The film won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[35] For the role of Llewyn, Isaac was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the 2014 Golden Globes.[36]

He co-starred with Jessica Chastain in J. C. Chandor's film A Most Violent Year (2014), replacing actor Javier Bardem.[37] In 2015, Isaac portrayed Nathan Hamlet Bateman in the science fiction film Ex Machina and starred in the 6-episode HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, receiving universal critical acclaim and winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for his performance as politician Nick Wasicsko.[38][39][40]

Isaac co-starred in the epic space opera film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015.[41] playing Poe Dameron, an X-wing pilot. He reprised the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, 2017.[42]

Isaac played X-Men villain Apocalypse in the film X-Men: Apocalypse, which was released on May 27, 2016.[43] Also that year, he played the lead role in the historical drama The Promise, with co-star Christian Bale, in a story about the Armenian Genocide.[44]

In 2016, he was the narrator for the Nike ad "Unlimited You" created by Wieden+Kennedy.[citation needed] In November 2016, the first episode of the podcast series Homecoming was released. It is a psychological thriller from Gimlet Media, starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer.[45] Homecoming is a six-episode thriller that centers around a mystery involving a caseworker (voiced by Oscar nominee Catherine Keener), her supervisor (voiced by David Schwimmer), and a soldier trying to rejoin civilian life (voiced by Oscar Isaac). It has a script from Eli Horowitz (The Silent History) and Micah Bloomberg (Creative Control) and sound design from Serial's Mark Phillips.[citation needed]

In July 2017, Isaac starred as Prince Hamlet in The Public Theater production of Hamlet alongside Keegan-Michael Key, Ritchie Coster, Gayle Rankin, Roberta Colindrez, and Anatol Yusef.[46] The production, directed by Sam Gold, ran until September 2017.[47] His performance received acclaim from critics and audiences alike.[8] Also that year, Isaac appeared in the black comedy Suburbicon, directed by George Clooney and written by the Coen Brothers.[48] It was his second role in a Coens-written film, after Inside Llewyn Davis.

On March 30, 2016, It was announced that Isaac would join Natalie Portman in the movie adaptation of the novel Annihilation where he will be playing her husband.[49] It is directed by Alex Garland, making it Isaac's second collaboration with the director after Ex Machina.

Personal life[edit]

In the current leading-man sea of buff, WASP-y dudes named Ryan and Chris, Isaac stands out. He's good-looking in a slightly imperfect manner that hearkens back to a pre-Ken-doll era of moviemaking: His nose is prominent, with a small dent at the tip. [...] "He has an interesting face," says Singer. "Like the great movie stars, like Harrison Ford, like Tom Cruise. [...] There's something about Oscar that could be Egyptian, Asiatic, Latino or Caucasian. His facial structure embodies a global human."
Rolling Stone magazine[12]

Isaac currently[when?] resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He has been dubbed a sex symbol,[50][51] and "the internet's boyfriend" by multiple media outlets, most notably Rolling Stone magazine; of the label, Isaac stated that, "[The Internet] never struck me as being into monogamous relationships. It's very promiscuous, the Internet."[12] Isaac is in a relationship with Elvira Lind.[52] In March 2017, it was revealed they were expecting their first child. Their son, Eugene,[53] was born in late April 2017.[54]

Isaac is an accomplished guitar player and singer, and has been playing since he was 12. Speaking to Interview magazine, he stated, "I don't know if they were all functioning, but I did play in a bunch of bands. I was sort of a musical whore, so I played in industrial bands, hardcore bands, punk—ska bands—all sorts of bands." Isaac also said that he "played guitar and bass. I didn't do much vocals, although I did have one band where I was the lead singer. But that was when I was in college."[55]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1998 Illtown Pool Boy Nick Gomez
2002 All About the Benjamins Francesco Kevin Bray
2004 Lenny the Wonder Dog Detective Fartman Oren Goldman & Stav Ozdoba
2006 Pu-239 Shiv Scott Z. Burns
The Nativity Story Saint Joseph Catherine Hardwicke
2007 The Life Before Her Eyes Marcus Vadim Perelman
2008 Che: Part One Interpreter Steven Soderbergh
Body of Lies Bassam Ridley Scott
2009 Agora Orestes Alejandro Amenábar
Balibo José Ramos-Horta Robert Connolly AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actor
2010 Robin Hood John, King of England Ridley Scott
2011 Sucker Punch Blue Jones Zack Snyder
W.E. Evgeni Madonna
10 Years Reeves Jamie Linden
Drive Standard Gabriel Nicolas Winding Refn
2012 For Greater Glory Victoriano "El Catorce" Ramírez Dean Wright Nominated—ALMA Award for Favorite Movie Actor: Supporting Role
Revenge for Jolly! Cecil Chadd Harbold
The Bourne Legacy Outcome #3 Tony Gilroy
Won't Back Down Michael Perry Daniel Barnz
2013 Inside Llewyn Davis Llewyn Davis Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Hamptons International Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Performer
International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actor
International Cinephile Society Award for Best Ensemble
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Breakthrough Performance on Camera
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Virtuoso Award
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Nominated—Iowa Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (3rd place)
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
In Secret Laurent LeClaire Charlie Stratton
2014 The Two Faces of January Rydal Keener Hossein Amini
Ticky Tacky Lucien Brian Petsos Short film
A Most Violent Year Abel Morales J. C. Chandor National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (Tied with Michael Keaton)
Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
2015 Ex Machina Nathan Bateman Alex Garland Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Nominated—Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year
Mojave John "Jack" Jackson William Monahan
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poe Dameron J. J. Abrams
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse Bryan Singer
The Promise Mikael Boghosian Terry George
2017 Lightningface Basil Stitt Brian Petsos Short film; also executive producer
Suburbicon Bud Cooper George Clooney
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poe Dameron Rian Johnson
2018 Annihilation Alex Garland Completed
Life Itself Dan Fogelman Post-production
Operation Finale Peter Malkin Chris Weitz Filming; also producer


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Robbie Paulson Episode: "The Healer"
2015 Show Me a Hero Nick Wasicsko HBO miniseries; 6 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Poe Dameron
2016 Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poe Dameron


Year Title Role
2016 Homecoming Walter Cruz


Year Title Role Theatre Notes
2005 The Two Gentlemen of Verona Proteus Shakespeare in the Park
2006 Beauty of the Father Federico García Lorca Manhattan Theatre Club
2007 Romeo and Juliet Romeo Montague Shakespeare in the Park
2008 Grace Tom Manhattan Theatre Club
2011 We Live Here Daniel Manhattan Theatre Club
2017 Hamlet Prince Hamlet The Public Theater


  1. ^ Nepales, Ruben V. (January 3, 2013). "Some quotable quotes of 2013". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  2. ^ Shoard, Catherine (May 23, 2013). "Oscar Isaac: 'The irony is not lost on me. Being celebrated for playing someone who wasn't'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Live with Kelly and Michael: Season 26, Episode 92: Joel McHale/Oscar Isaac" on IMDb
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  6. ^ Howard, Pat. "Kelly + Michael: Inside Llewyn Davis Star Oscar Isaac Real Birthday". Recapo. 
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  14. ^ Marr, Madeline (May 16, 2010). "Miami actor Oscar Isaac rule Robin Hood". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
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  19. ^ a b Features / 12 Jan 2016 / by Simon Young (2016-01-12). "Ska Wars: How Poe Dameron quit punk to fight The First Order - Metal Hammer". Teamrock.com. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
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  29. ^ Brantley, Ben (August 29, 2005). "Shakespeare in the Park Review; Enter 'Two Gentlemen' For a Sexy Sip of Sangría". The New York Times. 
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  31. ^ a b De Semlyen, Phil. "Five Impressive Oscar Isaac Roles You Didn't Realise Were Oscar Isaac". Empire. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
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  34. ^ Roberts, Randall (November 9, 2013). "The Coens' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' aims to keep 1960s folk scene real". latimes.com. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
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  37. ^ Feinberg, Siege, Scott, Tatiana (December 3, 2013). "Oscar Isaac, J.C. Chandor Team Up for 'A Most Violent Year' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  38. ^ Feinberg, Siege, Scott, Tatiana (December 3, 2013). "Ex Machina". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  39. ^ "James Belushi, Terry Kinney & Michael Stahl-David Join HBO's 'Show Me A Hero'". Deadline. August 15, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
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  41. ^ "Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced". StarWars.com. April 29, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  42. ^ Ruby, Jennifer (December 17, 2015). "Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy confirms that entire cast will return for eighth film". London Evening Standard. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
  43. ^ "'X-Men: Apocalypse': Oscar Isaac Nabs Villain Role". Variety. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  44. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 15, 2015). "Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac to Star in The Promise". The Wrap. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  45. ^ "Homecoming – Gimlet Media". Gimletmedia.com. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  46. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (2017-07-14). "Off Broadway Review: Oscar Isaac in 'Hamlet'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-17. 
  47. ^ "Hamlet". www.publictheater.org. Retrieved 2017-08-17. 
  48. ^ McNary, Dave. "Paramount Buys George Clooney-Matt Damon Comedy Suburbicon". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  49. ^ Kroll, Justin. "Oscar Isaac Joins Natalie Portman's Annihilation". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  50. ^ "'Star Wars' sex symbol Oscar Isaac performs Bill Murray's classic parody of the theme song". someecards.com. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Oscar Isaac, Please Don't Become A Heartthrob". decider.com. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  52. ^ "11 Things You Must Know About the Internet's New Boyfriend, Oscar Isaac". POPSUGAR.com. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  53. ^ Alexis Soloski. "After His Mother's Death, Oscar Isaac Turns to Shakespeare for Solace". nytimes.com. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  54. ^ Jen Juneau. "Oscar Isaac Welcomes a Son". People.com. Retrieved 2017-05-26. 
  55. ^ "Oscar Isaac". interviewmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 

External links[edit]