From sunny Australia to sunny California, the jump may not seem very big. But even for actors, moving from your place of origin to work in a competitive industry in a distant country is never easy.
Over the last century, Australia has established itself as both a great filming location and an intelligent cinema culture. With the likes of George Miller and Peter Weir, we've seen plenty of talented directors rear their heads from Down Under.
More so, many talented actors have shown up at the gates of Hollywood. Sure, it often means they have to drop their Aussie twang, but those that do are happily welcomed with open arms.
This list takes a look at the best actors from Australia who brought their marvelous dramatic talents to Hollywood—and succeeded.
7. Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth is instantly recognizable as Thor, God of Thunder.
Originally starting his career on the Australian TV show Home and Away, Hemsworth eventually jumped to Hollywood and dove right in with roles in action movies like Thor (2011) and Red Dawn (2012).
In Ron Howard's Rush (2013), Chris Hemsworth played real-life racecar driver James Hunt and knocked it out of the park.
6. Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving has surely popped up in at least one of your favorite films, with so many iconic roles in pop culture hits, including The Matrix (1999), The Lord of the Rings (2001–2003), Transformers (2007–2011), and he even played Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
For sure, Hugo Weaving is a talented actor. Born in Nigeria, he moved to Australia when he was young and never left.
Though he became famous for starring in fan-favorite movies, his most celebrated performance is actually as Anthony "Tick" Belrose in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994).
In this film, he plays a drag queen journeying across the Australian Outback—and believe me, it's as much fun as it sounds.
5. Eric Bana
Eric Bana might be best remembered as the first man to play the Incredible Hulk in the modern Marvel Studios, but he's had diverse roles ranging from comedy sketches to intense crime dramas.
Though he often flies under the radar, he's always been a favorite with critics. He took on the lead role in Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and also played Nero in J. J. Abrams's reboot Star Trek (2009).
But his most compelling performance is undoubtedly in Chopper (2000). Portraying the real-life Mark "Chopper" Read, he brought a terrifying intensity—and a bizarre sense of humor—to this real-life villain.
4. Joel Edgerton
Criminally underrated and always fascinating to watch on screen, Joel Edgerton never disappoints regardless of his role.
Initially making the move over to Hollywood with works like Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002), he eventually made a name for himself in a number of well-received productions. These include Warrior (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and The Great Gatsby (2013).
But when he wrote and starred in The Gift (2015), we were treated to his best showing yet. In it, he's undeniably creepy despite the fact he does very little; it's all in the nuances of his performance.
Most recently, he starred in the Australian film The Stranger (2022), giving us another quiet-but-great performance from the talented actor.
3. Russell Crowe
"Are you not entertained?!" Well, whenever Russell Crowe has a main part in a movie, I'm definitely entertained.
Though he's recently done less acting work—probably because he's made the step toward directing—he has a large body of work to enjoy.
With Gladiator (2000), Crowe turned in what arguably remains his best performance ever. Both intense and tragic, he was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his efforts.
2. Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is known the world over for many things, but one thing above all else: the man can seriously act.
And not only is he passionate about the craft, but he's exceptionally versatile. He's done it all, from superhero movies (Logan) to musicals (Les Misérables), from dramas (The Fountain) to thrillers (Prisoners).
He's best known for his gruff portrayal of Wolverine, and he was later nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role as Jean Valjean, but above all of those, his best performance came in Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners.
Jackman blew the roof off as Keller Dover in Prisoners. And despite not winning an Academy Award for that role, it's still one of the greatest (and grittiest) performances ever seen in modern cinema.
1. Geoffrey Rush
Like many, Geoffrey Rush is an acting powerhouse. What makes Rush stand out from the rest of them is that he's so subtle in his performances. He demands your utmost attention.
Geoffrey Rush is one of only 24 people to ever win the Triple Crown of Acting (Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award). That's not a very long list at all, so it's an insane accomplishment for sure.
If that isn't enough to prove the man's acting capability, then it's worth mentioning that he's been nominated for Oscars an additional three times, both in Leading and Supporting Roles.
Geoffrey Rush isn't just one of the best Australian actors to make it in Hollywood, but one of the greatest actors of his generation, period.