Oscar Isaac

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada (born March 9, 1979)[4][5][6] is an American actor. He has played lead film roles in the tragicomedy 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 (2014). In 2006, he portrayed Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, in The Nativity Story. He also portrayed José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, in the Australian film Balibo, for which he won the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Oscar Isaac
Isaac at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada[1][2]

(1979-03-09) March 9, 1979[3]
Guatemala City, Guatemala
ResidenceWilliamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
  • Actor
  • musician
Years active1998–present
Home townMiami, Florida, U.S.
Elvira Lind (m. 2017)
RelativesNicole Hernandez Hammer (sister)

He has appeared in the Star Wars sequel trilogy as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, and in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) as the titular mutant supervillain Apocalypse. He also headlined the 2015 HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero as politician Nick Wasicsko, 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

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother, María Eugenia Estrada, and a Cuban father, Óscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a pulmonologist.[9][10][11] His sister is climate scientist Nicole Hernandez Hammer.[12] Isaac's family settled in the U.S. when he was five months old, and he was raised in Miami, Florida.[13][14][15] He has described his evangelical Protestant upbringing as "very Christian."[16] He has also said that he has French and Jewish origins, describing himself as "definitely a big mix of many things."[17]

Isaac caused 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.[18] 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.[19]

Isaac's entry into professional acting began at the Area Stage Company, Miami Beach, when Artistic Director John Rodaz cast him in a play.[20] 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 ska-punk band The Blinking Underdogs.[21] Other band members included Nick Speck (bass), Bill Sommer (drums), Alan Mills (trombone), Keith Cooper (saxophone), and Matt LaPlant (guitar).[22] The band enjoyed some success, opening for Green Day[23] and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.[22] Isaac spent his musical years living a "straight edge" lifestyle.[24][25][26] Isaac put music to the side after being accepted into the acting program of New York's prestigious Juilliard School in 2001. While a student there, he worked on one of his first films, All About the Benjamins (2002). He was part of the Drama Division's Group 34 (2001–2005).[27]


Isaac made his acting debut in the 1996 crime drama Illtown, credited as "Pool Boy".[28] 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.[29][30] Isaac garnered recognition in his first major film role in 2006 as Joseph in the biblical epic The Nativity Story, opposite Keisha Castle-Hughes.[31] 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.[32]

Isaac was awarded the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor of 2009, for his role as José Ramos-Horta in Balibo (2009).[33] He had a small role in Guerrilla, Part Two of the Che Guevara biopic Che (2008).[34] Isaac played King John in the 2010 film Robin Hood.[35] 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.[34] He had a role as a musician in 10 Years. 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.[36]

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.[37] The film won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[38] 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.[39]

He co-starred with Jessica Chastain in J. C. Chandor's film A Most Violent Year (2014), replacing actor Javier Bardem.[40] 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.[41][42][43]

Isaac co-starred in the epic space opera film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015,[44] playing Poe Dameron, an X-wing pilot. He reprised the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, 2017.[45] He reprised his role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the 2019 film representing the final film in the sequel trilogy.[46]

Isaac played X-Men villain Apocalypse in the film X-Men: Apocalypse, which was released on May 27, 2016.[47] 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.[48]

In 2016, he was the narrator for the Nike ad "Unlimited You" created by Wieden+Kennedy. In November 2016, the first episode of the podcast series Homecoming was released. It is a six—episode psychological thriller from Gimlet Media, co-starring Catherine Keener and David Schwimmer; Isaac voices a soldier trying to rejoin civilian life.[49]

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.[50] The production, directed by Sam Gold, ran until September 2017.[51] 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.[52] It was his second role in a Coens-written film, after Inside Llewyn Davis.

Isaac co-starred with Natalie Portman in the film adaptation of the novel Annihilation, playing her character's husband.[53] Directed by Alex Garland, the role is Isaac's second collaboration with the director, after Ex Machina. In late-January 2019, Isaac was cast as Duke Leto Atreides in the upcoming Denis Villeneuve film Dune.[54] In 2019, Isaac was cast in the Paul Schrader film "The Card Counter".[55]

Personal life

Isaac is an accomplished singer and guitar player, having played since the age of twelve.[56] He has been dubbed a sex symbol[57][58] and "the internet's boyfriend" by multiple media outlets, most notably Rolling Stone magazine, though he has expressed skepticism about the label.[13]

Isaac married Danish film director Elvira Lind in February 2017.[59] They have two sons.[60][61]

Isaac resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[62]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Illtown Pool Boy
2002 All About the Benjamins Francesco
2004 Lenny the Wonder Dog Detective Fartman
2006 Pu-239 Shiv
The Nativity Story Saint Joseph
2007 The Life Before Her Eyes Marcus
2008 Che Interpreter
Body of Lies Bassam
2009 Agora Orestes
Balibo José Ramos-Horta
2010 Robin Hood John, King of England
2011 Sucker Punch Blue Jones
W.E. Evgeni
10 Years Reeves
Drive Standard Gabriel
2012 For Greater Glory Victoriano "El Catorce" Ramírez
Revenge for Jolly! Cecil
The Bourne Legacy Outcome #3
Won't Back Down Michael Perry
2013 Inside Llewyn Davis Llewyn Davis
In Secret Laurent LeClaire
2014 The Two Faces of January Rydal Keener
Ticky Tacky Lucien Short film
A Most Violent Year Abel Morales
2015 Ex Machina Nathan Bateman
Mojave John "Jack" Jackson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poe Dameron
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse
The Promise Mikael Boghosian
2017 Lightningface Basil Stitt Short film; also executive producer
Suburbicon Bud Cooper
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poe Dameron
2018 Annihilation Kane
Operation Finale Peter Malkin Also producer
At Eternity's Gate Paul Gauguin
Life Itself Will Dempsey
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Miguel O'Hara / Spider-Man 2099 Voice; Cameo; Credited as "Interesting Person #1"
2019 Triple Frontier Santiago "Pope" Garcia
The Addams Family Gomez Addams Voice
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Poe Dameron [63]
2020 Dune Duke Leto Atreides Post-production
TBA Big Gold Brick Anselm Post-production; also executive producer


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Robbie Paulson Episode: "The Healer"
2015 Show Me a Hero Nick Wasicsko 6 episodes
2018–2019 Star Wars Resistance Poe Dameron Voice; 4 episodes[64]

Video games

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


Year Title Role Notes
2016 Homecoming Walter Cruz


2005The Two Gentlemen of VeronaProteusShakespeare in the Park
2006Beauty of the FatherFederico García LorcaManhattan Theatre Club
2007Romeo and JulietRomeo MontagueShakespeare in the Park
2008GraceTomManhattan Theatre Club
2011We Live HereDanielManhattan Theatre Club
2017HamletPrince HamletThe Public Theater

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2009 AACTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Balibo Won
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Supporting Role Nominated
2012 ALMA Award Favorite Movie Actor: Supporting Role For Greater Glory Nominated
2013 Gotham Awards Best Actor Inside Llewyn Davis Won
Hamptons International Film Festival Breakthrough Performer Won
International Cinephile Society Best Actor Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Actor Won
International Cinephile Society Best Ensemble Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Actor Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award Best Actor Won
Empire Award Best Male Newcomer Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association Award Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Lead Male Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actor Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Actor Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Actor (3rd place) Nominated
2014 National Board of Review Award Best Actor (Tied with Michael Keaton) A Most Violent Year Won
Gotham Independent Film Award Best Actor Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Actor Nominated
2015 Florida Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actor Ex Machina Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actor Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actor (2nd place) Won
Austin Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Award Best Supporting Actor of the Year Nominated
2015 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Show Me a Hero Won
Satellite Award Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Nominated
2017 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actor Suburbicon Nominated


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