Let’s face it: Australian actors are a hot commodity in Hollywood. Australian actors are all the buzz from Broadway stage icon Hugh Jackman to headliner talent Nicole Kidman. New York Film Academy has a campus on the Gold Coast. This has me wondering what bewitching talent will apply to any of our new programs in the Land Down Under? Check out our ranking of some of the notable Australians in Hollywood:
1) Alex O’Loughlin
OK, so maybe his IMDB doesn’t have the same prestige as Leonardo (DiCaprio – keep up) or Ben Affleck, but he played opposite Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan and had me swooning. Vampire fans out there should check out his Moonlight character while those who have a soft-spot for nostalgic police procedurals will have much to enjoy watching him in Hawaii Five-O .
2) Cate Blanchett
I don’t know many other actresses who can make a KGB agent (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), the Queen (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), and musician Bob Dylan (I’m Not There) all alluring characters. Half the time I don’t even realize I am watching Blanchett because she is so good at taking on different roles. Another memorable role was her character Daisy in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as she starred alongside Brad Pitt.
3) Hugh Jackman
The man is versatile, ribbed, and oh yeah, he sings. From playing Wolverine in X-Men to his Tony Award-winning stint in Broadway’s The Boy From Oz, Jackman has charisma, charm, and talent. The three-time Tony Awards host and 2009 Oscar host is on my Valentine’s Day shortlist.
4) Nicole Kidman
You can’t take your eyes off her, Kidman will upstage any other actor with her. Check out Kidman as a singing, dancing courtesan in Moulin Rouge! The movie is filled with colors, costume, and choreography, and yet Kidman is the only thing I can watch the minute she enters the frame.
5) Simon Baker
OK, New York Film Academy actors: your mission is to steal my heart in the same way Baker did in The Devil Wears Prada. With his talents and charming good looks, The Mentalist actor has my heart.
6) Russell Crowe
His intelligence and depth came through in A Beautiful Mind while his rocking arms were the subject of Gladiator. And recently his turn as Inspector Javert in the celebrity-infused film adaptation of Les Miserables showed yet another side to this incessantly versatile actor.
7) Liam Hemsworth
Not that Miley Cyrus should be an authority on men, but in this case she picked well for the time they were together in real life. At least Hemsworth made sitting through The Last Song almost bearable. Almost.
8) Chris Hemsworth
Once he grew those blond locks out, it became pretty clear that no matter what Liam’s older brother does in his career, he will likely be most remembered for his turns as Thor in both the solo movies and Avengers films. But as he recently proved in Ron Howard’s Formula-One Racing film Rush, his muscly good looks are only a small part of the equation as to why he’s blowing up and we can expect to see him in more nuanced roles as his career progresses.
9) Naomi Watts
Besides Nicole Kidman, Watts is arguably the most well-known Australian actress—though she was actually born in the UK, having moved Down Under at the age of fourteen. So it should come as no surprise that the two actresses came up together, with Watts actually living with Kidman and then-husband Tom Cruise when she first moved to the US. Though earning steady work throughout the 90s, it wasn’t until David Lynch’s Muholland Drive that Watts established herself as a blockbuster artist whose acting chops allow her to take roles most other actresses would shy away from.
10) Eric Bana
First gaining international critical attention for his demented turn in the 2000 cult classic Chopper, Bana broke into Hollywood with his role in 2001’s Black Hawk Down. This led to some major blockbuster roles in films such as The Incredible Hulk, Troy, and Munich before Bana embarked on his current career path, which consists of a major Hollywood film separated by a series of indie roles, a path he appears quite comfortable with.
11) Heath Ledger
While it is nearly impossible to talk about this immensely talented actor without lamenting how he passed away far too soon, Ledger’s career is a fantastic case study in how a genuinely gifted performer can make the transition from teen heartthrob to respected actor, which is just what he did in such Oscar fare as Monster’s Ball, Brokeback Mountain, and his jaw-dropping posthumous turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight, which made it clear to audiences around the globe that his brightest days were very likely still ahead of him.
12) Rose Byrne
With her classical good looks and enviable range as an actress, it never seemed a question of “if” Byrne would find success as an actress, but more likely, “when.” It’s little surprise that she was cast in her first film at the age of thirteen, but it’s been in the past ten years that Byrne has truly moved from the periphery to the center stage is such successful films and television shows as Damages, Bridesmaids, Insidious, and this year’s Neighbors.
13) Margot Robbie
Though she has been a successful actress since the age of seventeen and scored a recurring role on the hit show Aussie show Neighbours, it wasn’t until 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street where Robbie nearly stole the scenes right under Leonardo DiCaprio’s feet as his embattled wife. The role has seemingly opened all of Hollywood to Robbie, with a number of high-profile films in the works, including a starring turn as Jane in the new Tarzan reboot.
14) Sam Worthington
Having won an AACTA Award in 2004, Worthington’s first chance for a Hollywood breakthrough came with the disappointing Terminator Salvation. However, shortly after, a little film called Avatar, with Worthington in the lead role, conquered all and made Worthington’s face one the whole world soon recognized. While Worthington has continued to establish himself as a versatile actor across many genres, he has been best recognized for his action roles, which include Clash of the Titans and the upcoming Avatar sequels.
15) Joel Edgerton
A multi-hyphenate actor-writer-producer, Edgerton starred in a large number of film and television productions before hitting pay-dirt playing the role of Owen Lars in Episodes II and III in the Star Wars prequels. Since then, he has remained a constant presence on screen in such films as The Thing, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Great Gatsby.
16) Ryan Kwanten
Poor Ryan Kwanten. While this successful and extremely well-rounded actor has been in the game since 1991, it was his seven seasons playing the extremely likable dumb hunk Jason Stackhouse on HBO’s True Blood that gave him the role that he will likely be associated with for years to come. That said, in the meantime, he has absolutely dominated such films as Griff the Invisible and Red Hill.