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Top 10 Australian Actors

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by David MacIntyre. This list is proof that some of Hollywood's finest actually come from the land down under. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Australian Actors. For this list, we've combined both actors and actresses who were raised in Australia, are associated with Australia or who self-identify as Australian. It doesn't matter if they were actually born there, as long as their heritage is Aussie through and through. Special thanks to Mattyhull1, dee123, Julia Light, BustaJ, Mario Cisternas, arimazzie, and Ben Chang for submitting this idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Script written by David MacIntyre

Top 10 Australian Actors


This list is proof that some of Hollywood’s finest actually come from the land down under. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the top 10 Australian actors.

For this list, we’ve combined both actors and actresses who were raised in Australia, are associated with Australia or who self-identify as Australian. It doesn’t matter if they were actually born there, as long as their heritage is Aussie through and through.

#10: Eric Bana

If there’s anything this born-and-raised Aussie actor is particularly good at, it’s being incredibly versatile. He’s played a Romulan in the 2009 “Star Trek” film, an Israeli intelligence agent of German-Jewish descent in “Munich,” and the Hulk; plus he lent his voice to a shark in “Finding Nemo” – geez, is there anything he can’t do? His range truly is unbelievable, as he can jump from an intense thriller to a science fiction film, then step into a rom-com and make those transitions look easy. Perhaps he developed that skill by starting his career as a sketch comedian in his native Australia.

#9: Hugo Weaving

Though he was born in Nigeria to English parents, Hugo Weaving returned to Australia in 1976 and it’s there he began his acting career in earnest – although, ironically, his first major role was as a Brit in the Aussie series “Bodyline.” Today, he’s known to many as the masked man in “V for Vendetta,” but this actor has plenty of other roles under his belt. His parts as Agent Smith in “The Matrix” movies and Elrond in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy might not be the biggest roles in either series, but they did get him more international attention than he’d had previously, and paved the way for major voice and acting roles in many blockbusters.

#8: Mel Gibson

Born in New York into a family with Australian heritage, Mel Gibson and his clan moved down under when he was 12. Before long, Gibson was displaying that special something that eventually made him a Hollywood star while studying theater acting in Sydney. It was in 1979 that he took on one of the most iconic roles of his career in George Miller’s Aussie action flick “Mad Max.” That was the springboard he needed to succeed in America as a leading man, first as an action star and later as a producer and director. He may’ve encountered controversy in his work and personal life, but this Oscar winner remains one of Australia’s most famous acting exports.

#7: Russell Crowe

Born in New Zealand, but splitting his childhood between NZ and Australia, Crowe settled in Australia for good at age 21 and – using his natural talents – began focusing on his acting career. As an Australian actor’s right-of-passage, Crowe took a role on the Aussie soap “Neighbours,” and within a decade he’d made his Hollywood debut alongside some A-list talent in “The Quick and the Dead.” But it was his work in 2000’s “Gladiator” that won him the Academy Award for Best Actor, and made his a household name. Although he doesn’t hold Australian citizenship, Crowe self-identifies as Australian and was recognized for “service to Australian society and Australian film production” with the Australian Centenary Medal in 2001.

#6: Heath Ledger

Born and raised down under, this Australian’s show-stopping turn as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” was arguably the best performance of his career. It’s truly a tragedy that Ledger wasn’t alive to see the admiration that would come his way, culminating in a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Prior to his death in 2008, this actor was known for his stylish performance in “A Knight’s Tale,” as well as for his intense work in the controversial “Brokeback Mountain” and his breakout role in “10 Things I Hate About You.” Today, his legacy lives in the Heath Ledger Scholarship, awarded to deserving up-and-coming actors in Ledger’s native Australia.

#5: Errol Flynn

A lot of contemporary movie fans might not be familiar with him, but back in his day, this Aussie-American actor was considered the very definition of smooth and suave. Though his lavish lifestyle and well-publicized love life often got more attention than his acting skills, in the right role he was unbeatable. His presence in swashbuckling movies through the ‘30s and ‘40s made him a superstar in his time; unfortunately, major financial woes depleted the fortune he had made and Flynn died an untimely death at the age of 50. However, his reputation as one of the first famous Aussies in Hollywood persists.

#4: Hugh Jackman

Born, raised and educated in Australia, Jackman began acting as a hobby, and parlayed his natural charm, talent and good looks into a career. Well-known to theatre fans for his frequent Broadway appearances; to many others, he’s immediately identifiable as Wolverine of the X-Men. At ease playing romantic types just as much as action heroes, Jackman is as diverse as an actor as anyone. The actor’s impressive star turn in the film of the Broadway musical “Les Misérables” even netted him a well-deserved Oscar nomination. With personal appeal and charisma that extend beyond his work in film, Jackman has become one of Australia’s most famous actors working today.

#3: Cate Blanchett

She gives stellar performances time and time again, and they’ve translated into Oscar-worthy success. Born in Melbourne and graduated from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, Blanchett’s breakout role in 1998’s “Elizabeth” brought her the first of her many Academy Award nominations. She’s won Hollywood’s highest honor twice - for her roles in “The Aviator” (where she played Katharine Hepburn) and “Blue Jasmine,” making her the first Australian ever to take home two Oscars for acting. To prove just how diverse her acting is, she even played Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There,” and did a pretty darn good job of it too.

#2: Geoffrey Rush

Following his Oscar-winning performance in the Aussie-made film “Shine,” where he played the pianist David Helfgott, Rush had all of Hollywood at his fingertips. He’s since become a member of the Triple Crown of Acting club with an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy in his list of accolades, in addition to the Australian Centenary Medal, Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award and Australian of the Year honors. More Oscar nominations have followed, including a nod for his role in “The King’s Speech.” But many contemporary moviegoers know Rush more for his memorable performances as Captain Barbossa in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Guy Pearce
- Chris Hemsworth
- David Gulpilil
- Toni Collette
- Rose Byrne

#1: Nicole Kidman

Though she hasn’t been as active in recent years, Kidman’s acting resume supports her position at the top of this list. Born in Hawaii to Australian parents and settling back in Oz at age 4, Kidman used acting to overcome her shyness. If leading roles in movies like the musical “Moulin Rouge,” Stanley Kubrick’s final film “Eyes Wide Shut” and her Oscar-winning turn in “The Hours” are any indication, she’s got the talent and appeal to cement her place as one of the most acclaimed and most famous actresses in the world – not just Australia. With numerous major awards and nominations under her belt, Nicole Kidman’s sterling reputation is truly well deserved.

Do you agree with our list? Which Australian actor or actress is your all-time favorite? With new top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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