List compiled by Eddie on 02/08/2019
Still a relatively small country population wise when compared to the rest of the world, Australia has still managed to produce a number of world-class performers that have made their mark in Hollywood.
With more Australian actors in the industry than ever before, nailing down a Top 10 Australian Actors is no easy feat but below is a list of performers that have made their mark over a number of years and showcased the talent that Australia is capable of producing.
Australia loves adoring its successful citizens and for each one of these below picks, they deserve all the praise they get for their incredible bodies of work and for their continued support of the local industry.
Happy reading and happy watching!
10. David Wenham
Notable films – Gettin Square, Lion, 300, Australia
Not often given the time in the spotlight her deserves, David Wenham has been one of Australia’s most consistent and reliable performers over the last 20 years.
Arguably given better opportunity on the small screen in great shows like Top of the Lake, Wenham has still crafted an extremely impressive career that still has a lot left to go.
9. Hugo Weaving
Notable films – V for Vendetta, The Interview, The Matrix, Proof
Much like David Wenham, Weaving hasn’t often been given the chance to lead a film but whenever he does it’s a sight to behold.
A powerful performer that is just as at home playing a skin-crawling villain as he is a lovable every-man, Weaving mixes in low-budget local offerings with big-budgeted Hollywood fair to great effect and remains to this day one of the most reliable performers in the industry.
8. Ben Mendelsohn
Notable films – Animal Kingdom, A Star Wars Story: Rogue One, Killing Me Softly, Captain Marvel
It took some time but thanks to Animal Kingdom in 2010 Ben Mendelsohn finally made it to the big time!
After years of plying his trade in bit parts, Mendelsohn is now one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood with his ability to be dastardly evil nabbing him a number of high-profile villain roles in some of recent times biggest hits.
While it would be great to see Mendelsohn shy away from these types of roles, there’s still enough evidence in his work to suggest his one of our greatest ever cinematic exports.
7. Naomi Watts
Notable films – King Kong, Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams, Eastern Promises
Striking a rich vein of form in the early 2000’s, the Oscar nominated Watts has proven time and time again that she’s an actress of immense power.
Emotionally charged turns in the likes of 21 Grams and Mulholland Drive are deserving of the plaudits afforded to them but her less heralded role in the 2005 King Kong remake is the perfect showcase for the skill Watt’s has to lead from the front.
Here’s hoping Watts can find some of that power once more after a relatively lean patch over recent years.
6. Heath Ledger
Notable films – The Dark Knight, Two Hands, Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You
It’s a mighty shame that we will never get to see just what Ledger could’ve done in a still budding career that was cut short by a tragic death.
You get the sense that Ledger was only just beginning to tap into the best of his abilities as he unleashed his powerful Dark Knight performance on the world in 2008.
In a far to short life however Ledger still did enough to well and truly earn his spot on the list of our greatest ever performers with an eclectic and wide-ranging collection of film work.
5. Errol Flynn
Notable films – The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, Cry Wolf, The Charge of the Light Brigade
The man that started it all for Australia, Tasmanian Errol Flynn made it big in Hollywood when many other Australian’s would’ve thought it impossible to do so and while his collection of 1940 and 1950’s films may have dated in the years that followed, Flynn possessed an undeniable charisma and energy that was hard to ignore.
4. Hugh Jackman
Notable films – Logan, The Greatest Showman, The Prestige, X-Men
The all-round talents of everyone’s favourite Mr. Nice Guy are common knowledge with Hugh Jackman becoming one of the industry’s most likable and charming actors on the back of his breakthrough X-Men turn in the early 2000’s.
His had his up and downs in feature films but when he nails it the results are memorable and noteworthy with his underused dramatic sensibilities still underutilized, as evidenced by his low-key but impressive turn in classic magician tale The Prestige.
With the Wolverine behind him, it’s exciting to think about where Jackman will go next.
3. Russell Crowe
Notable films – Gladiator, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Everyone’s favourite (and divisive) adopted Australian, Russell Crowe is a duel Oscar winning gem that went through one of the most solid periods an actor can go through in the late 90s and early 2000’s that culminated in some of the modern era’s best films.
While his profile has somewhat lowered in the recent years, Crowe is still busily working away on a number of projects and remains one of our most recognizable and in demand performers for good reason.
2. Cate Blanchett
Notable films – Carol, Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine, The Aviator
Quite possibly one of the most consistent performers in the industry, Cate Blanchett has over the course of 20 plus years continued to be one of the most diverse and reliable actresses in the industry.
Brilliantly balancing big-budget tentpoles with low-key independent offerings, the Oscar winning performer rarely lets the team down and continues to work with some of the industry’s brightest talents.
An incredible career that excitingly still has a long way.
1. Nicole Kidman
Notable films – Eyes Wide Shut, The Hours, Cold Mountain, Moulin Rouge!, Dead Calm
The one-time BMX Bandit has had quite the career!
After breaking out in Dead Calm in 1989, the Oscar winning Kidman has continued to be a part of a large collection of some of the most beloved films of the modern era.
Hitting a purple patch in recent times after a number of middling years, Kidman has seemingly found her acting mojo once more as she presses forward working in projects both big and small.
A national treasure, Kidman is an Australian icon that has well and truly proven we can match it with the biggest and best Hollywood has to offer.
Honourable mentions – Mel Gibson, Guy Pearce, Chris Hemsworth, Joel Edgerton
Love the list!
Ben Mendelsohn is my favorite. Such a beast of an actor.
I would add Margot Robbie, Joel Edgerton, & Geoffrey Rush.
Some great additional picks! Mendelsohn’s last decade or so has been something truly special.
Absolutely. I also enjoy him in Slow West as well as Adore (even though it is a small role). Animal Kingdom was just excellent.
Cate is my favourite actress.
Another great one he was in was Una with Rooney Mara.
Haven’t heard of that one…have added it to my To Watch list. Thanks so much!
Hope you enjoy.
Russel Crowe has always been a favorite of mine. It’s just a bit of a shame that lately he doesn’t seem to be in good films anymore. But well, hopefully that will change again. And then of course there is Hugh Jackman who is always awesome! 😊
I have a feeling Crowe is due a nice career bump sometime soon, I don’t know why just a little feeling ha.
Yes. Pity about Crowe.
Great list! Guy Pearce is brilliant too – unlucky not to be on main list! If only for his amazing performance as Chopper I would have squeezed a place in there for Eric Bana! Even as an honorable mention.
Very close to making the list Paul. I think Pearce has had a somewhat disappointing period over the last little while but he in Memento and Bana in Chopper are both examples of amazing lead turns they’re capable of.
After his documentary – if not given an oscar you’d expect adam goodes to at least feature in the #1 position on j and e.
Might have to wait for the Blu-Ray of that one to come out to watch mate.
Eagerly await the 5 star review
Hugo Weaving. I did not know he was Australian. Geoffrey Rush has a perfect English accent, I always thought he was English. My favorite Aussie is Mel Gibson.
Oops. He was born in NY but grew up in Australia. I discovered he has an Irish citizenship, too.
I hope Mel can deliver a few great turns over the next couple of years, it would be a much nicer way for him to be remembered.
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