What is the best Oscar Isaac performance? Now starring as Marvel’s Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac is the latest actor to front one of the studio’s Disney Plus series. Throughout his career, Oscar Isaac has often appeared as a supporting performer, but he has also proven himself to be a very talented leading man. Thanks to his new recruitment to the MCU we’re now blessed with his presence on our screens each week. So what other Oscar Isaac performances are worth watching? 





10. Kane – Annihilation

Isaac’s second collaboration with writer/director Alex Garland saw him star alongside Natalie Portman in sci-fi horror, Annihilation. It’s one of Isaac’s smaller roles in recent years but he makes the most of his limited screen time. After a dangerous expedition into a quarantine zone, his character, Kane, emerges as the sole survivor from his team of soldiers. But something’s different about him upon his return. Isaac keeps audiences guessing throughout with a portrayal of a character that allows him to demonstrate his versatility, despite the smaller size of the role.

9. Rydal Keener – The Two Faces of January

In crime thriller The Two Faces of January, acting alongside Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst, Isaac plays Rydal, a scam artist posing as a tour guide – because who wouldn’t want him to show them round the Acropolis? The film’s characters are fuelled by mistrust and deception and Isaac’s performance is the real driving force behind this. His frenemy-esque relationship with Mortenson’s character, combined with their rivalry in winning the affections of Dunst, makes for consistently engaging viewing. Or maybe it’s just the thought of a holiday romance with Isaac? Either way, it’s certainly one of the actor’s more underrated performances. 

8. Santiago “Pope” Garcia – Triple Frontier

An Oscar Isaac led heist movie? The premise for J. C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier might just be the greatest movie pitch of all-time. Isaac rounds up a likeable cast of lads and dads in the shape of Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garett Hedlund, for this Netflix actioner that received positive reviews upon its release. It’s no surprise though, with such a confident turn from Isaac in the leading role. He effectively conveys Pope’s dilemma of wanting to lead a successful heist without straying too far from his moral compass. Left wide open for a sequel, there would be no objections to seeing Isaac reprise this role.

Credit: LucasFilm Disney

7. Poe Dameron – Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

The films that made Isaac known as the global star he is today are of course the various episodes of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Starring as Poe Dameron, his spirited portrayal of the galaxy’s greatest X-wing pilot is easily one of the best features of this much-maligned trilogy. Drawing comparisons to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Poe, and his trusty droid buddy, BB-8, have quickly become fan favourites. However, his chemistry with John Boyega’s Finn is maybe what audiences enjoy most about his character, resulting in many calling for the pair to become a couple – oh what could have been!   

6. Standard Gabriel – Drive

Whilst Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is celebrated for many things, including its effortlessly cool soundtrack and Ryan Gosling’s even cooler leading performance, it also features a great turn from Isaac. Playing Carey Mulligan’s absent and imprisoned husband, Isaac makes a big impact when his character, Standard, is released and returns home. Disrupting Gosling and Mulligan’s new found domestic bliss, his initial attempts to intimidate his romantic competition are very tense. However when Standard’s prison debts catch up with him the tables quickly turn. Isaac captures this change in dynamic expertly and obviously he rocks the buzzcut too. 

5. William Tell – The Card Counter

In one of his most mature film roles, Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter sees Isaac play ex-soldier turned gifted gambler, William Tell. Isaac’s performance perfectly embodies Tell’s restrained and measured demeanour, but also the mystery of his dark past that haunts him daily, in this compelling character study. A Schrader and Isaac collaboration was always going to have good odds and with both delivering some of their finest work to date, audiences won big.

4. Duke Leto Atreides – Dune

Isaac’s role as Duke Leto Atreides in Dune saw him join the ranks of one of the most prestigious clubs of actors in Hollywood. No, not those that have worked with acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve, but those who have played one of Timothée Chalamet’s on screen daddies! Starring alongside a truly stacked cast, Isaac proves that he will always stand out amongst an ensemble. He puts his formidable screen presence to great use here, becoming effortlessly convincing as the respected ruler of his planet and a strong political force to be reckoned with. Admittedly though, that might also have had something to do with the hypnotic quality of his majestic beard.

3. Abel Morales – A Most Violent Year

Before Isaac and Chandor got into the heist game with Triple Frontier, the duo had already had a crack at the oil business. In A Most Violent Year Isaac stars as honourable entrepreneur Abel Morales, who’s determined to make it big with his home heating company. Although less concerned about keeping the books clean is his wife, Anna, played by Jessica Chastain. Their chemistry is irresistible, so it’s no wonder they’ve since reunited for television series Scenes From a Marriage. Ultimately, A Most Violent Year reminds us of just how capable Isaac is as a leading man and maybe more importantly just how well he can wear a coat.  

Credit: A24

2. Llewyn Davis – Inside Llewyn Davis

If we want to talk about leading performances though, it’s Isaac’s turn as down-and-out folk singer, Llewyn Davis which remains unrivalled. His breakthrough role in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis is nothing short of superb. He impressively communicates the draining effects of an artist’s insurmountable struggle to make ends meet, whilst also retaining his integrity. If that wasn’t enough, in an extension of his character Isaac also lends his sombre, yet soothing vocals to much of the film. Subsequently, no matter what Isaac goes on to star in, his performance as Davis will always be discussed as one of his very best. The representation for cat dads everywhere should not be understated either.

Credit: A24

1. Nathan Bateman – Ex Machina

Working with Garland on his debut film, Ex Machina, Isaac delivers a riotous performance as the villainous search engine CEO, Nathan Bateman. Complete with his own remote, high-tech lair and egotistical god complex, it’s clear to see that Isaac is having the time of his life with this role in the A24 movie. Playing host to Domhnall Gleeson’s Caleb, the pair spend a week together testing his AI, Ava, portrayed by Alicia Vikander. Despite his co-stars fantastic performances, Isaac completely steals the show, never more so than when he decides to “tear up the fucking dancefloor,” otherwise known as, the peak of cinema. 





So, those are the best performances from Oscar Isaac in his career so far. If you want to explore some other actors and their fine work, check out our ranking of the best Jason Statham movies. Or, maybe you want some more comic book content, in which case you may be interested in our list of the best alternative comic book movies.