And right now, if there were a hierarchy, Isaac would be King of the IBs.
Born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Isaac and his family settled in Miami, Florida, when he was a child.
He grew up tag teaming between music – his 90s punk band once opened for Green Day – and acting, until making a choice when he was accepted in the acting program at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School in the early 2000s.
Early on, he dropped his actual last name, Hernandez, in favour of his middle name, Isaac – and immediately found he was offered a much wider variety of auditions.
“They define you – ‘Latino actor, we’ll just bring him in for Spanish commercials,'” Isaac reflected in a 2016 Rolling Stone interview. “I’m interested in telling stories about the human experience that are not necessarily just about my personal circumstances. So how do I navigate that? I feel like I’ve been able to.”
Though, ironically, he said the change meant he missed out on a role as “a Cuban guy”, despite being half-Cuban.
His first major role was in 2006, as Joseph in the biblical epic The Nativity Story, opposite Keisha Castle-Hughes. In 2009, he had success down under when he was awarded the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for
his role as former East Timor President José Ramos-Horta in Balibo.
It was his role as a folk singer in Inside Llewyn Davis which catapulted him from supporting actor to leading man and started a succession of critical acclaim.
With such a solid career behind him, it was inevitable that Isaac’s star would rise to internet boyfriend-level proportions when he gained roles in huge franchises, including the Star Wars sequel trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse, and 2021’s
much-talked about Dune.