Oscar Isaac (born March 9, 1979) is a Guatemalan-born American actor and singer. After starting off as a musician, Isaac has gone on to take on lead roles in Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year, and Ex Machina. Isaac will also take on major roles in two highly anticipated upcoming releases: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and X-Men: Apocalypse.

Oscar Isaac Early Life

Oscar Isaac was born Oscar Isaac Hernandez on March 9, 1979 in Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother and a Cuban father. During his childhood, Isaac moved to the United States and was raised in Miami, Fla. He was brought up as an evangelical Protestant.

While going through private grade school (and the troubles he caused with it), Isaac was part of a band called The Blinking Underdogs. He played lead guitar and sang vocals in the band.

Isaac graduated from New York City’s prestigious Julliard School in 2005 under their drama division.

Oscar Isaac Career

Isaac transitioned from music to acting as he began to develop his career. After minor roles in 2002’s All About the Benjamins and an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Isaac began to take on some more major roles in 2006. He played Shiv in the film Pu-239 before taking on the role of Joseph in The Nativity Story. The Biblical epic would introduce the world to Isaac’s acting skills and be a setting stone for his work to come.

After roles in The Life Before Her Eyes and Che, Isaac played alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in the 2008 action-spy drama Body of Lies. Isaac took on the role of Bassam, a CIA field operative in Iraq who is also the associate of Roger Ferris, the main character played by DiCaprio.

In 2009, Isaac played Orestes in the Spanish historical drama Agora. The movie dealt with the transition away from Greco-Roman polytheism to Christianization within the Roman Empire in the 4th-century.

Isaac put on an award-winning performance in the 2009 Australian biopic Balibo, which is about a group of journalists who were captured and killed prior to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. Isaac portrayed Jose Ramos-Horta, the Timorese politician who fled the country prior to the Indonesian invasion to plead his case to the UN and later became president in 2007. Isaac was awarded the 2009 Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Isaac once again joined Crowe in a major film by taking the role of King John in Robin Hood in 2010. King John becomes the King of England after his brother, King Richard, is killed. King John becomes a very complex character, as he’s seen as being very selfish but at the same time very brave.

2011 was a busy year for Isaac, taking on roles in four films– Sucker Punch, Madonna’s W.E., 10 Years, and Drive. His role as Standard Gabriel in Drive was the most highly publicized of the four roles and gave him and the cast, which included Ryan Gosling and Bryan Cranston, plenty of accolades. His role in 10 Years as Reeves, however, gave him the opportunity to go back to his musical roots, as he performed his own songs for the movie’s soundtrack in addition to playing his character.

 

After roles in For Greater Glory, which netted him an ALMA Award for Favorite Movie Actor in a Supporting Role as Victoriano “El Catorce” Ramirez, The Bourne Legacy, and Won’t Back Down, Isaac landed the title role in the Coen Brothers’ 2013 folk music-themed drama Inside Llewyn Davis. Prior to the release of the film, Isaac chatted with uInterview to discuss playing Davis, a struggling folk singer in 1960’s Greenwich Village. Isaac would be surrounded by big names in supporting roles, including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake.

“There’s about ten songs in the film and we shot it like a concert film, meaning we did it all live,” he told uInterview. “There was no playback. There was no lip synching.” He continued that the film allowed him “to delve into this amazing repertoire of music that I wasn’t aware of, this time before Bob Dylan and after Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, this incredible time that was happening here in New York.”

Inside Llewyn Davis became a hit for Isaac. The film won a multitude of awards, including the much sought after Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, which is the second highest honor a film can receive at the event. Isaac would also pick up a number of awards and nominations for Llewyn Davis from film festivals worldwide. It also netted him a nomination for the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

In 2014, Isaac co-starred with Jessica Chastain in the crime drama A Most Violent Year. Isaac plays the role of Abel Morales, an owner of a heating oil company in 1981 New York City who has to deal with the violence of the city and the corruption within his employees while running it. The film once again gave Isaac critical acclaim, including the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor, which he shared for the year with Michael Keaton.

Isaac also landed two future high profile roles in 2014. J.J. Abrams announced that Isaac would be joining the cast of the 2015 Star Wars sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Poe Dameron. The film’s first trailer showed Dameron as an X-wing pilot and should see Isaac play a major part in the film’s plot. Just a few months later, Isaac was also tabbed to play the X-Men villain Apocalypse in the 2016 release of X-Men: Apocalypse. With both films expecting to be summer blockbusters, Isaac’s career should be rising to new heights in the upcoming years.

In addition to Star Wars, Isaac appeared on movie screens in 2015 in the British science fiction drama Ex Machina and the crime thriller Mojave.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens marked Isaac’s highest profile role to date. In the flick he played Poe Dameron, General Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) best pilot sent to a distant planet to uncover the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The film opened to instant success, breaking records and receiving praise from audiences and critics alike who appreciated the film’s return to the aesthetics and feel of the original trilogy.

Isaac’s character was originally meant to be killed off but director J.J. Abrams had a change of heart, meaning Isaac will appear in upcoming sequels.

Isaac has also taken on some stage roles, taking part in “Shakespeare in the Park” productions of Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen of Verona in New York’s Central Park through the years.

Isaac’s next big profile role will be in X-Men: Apocalypse as eponymous villain Apocalypse in 2016.

Oscar Isaac Personal Life

Although Oscar Isaac’s personal life has been kept under wraps through the years, the celebrity press recently connected the dots that he is engaged to longtime girlfriend Maria Miranda. According to an article on Bustle, the two grew up together in Miami and have been together ever since.

Isaac resides in New York City.

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