New Zealand-born actor, director and producer Russell Crowe had one of the most incredible runs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, quickly becoming a huge star in Hollywood. With a career that started opposite George Takei in “Blood Oath” (1990), he’s delivered a treasure trove of unforgettable performances over the last three decades.
After making a name for himself in Australia with nominations and wins at the country’s equivalent to the Oscars for “The Crossing” (1990), “Proof” (1991) and “Romper Stomper” (1992), his debut in American cinemas began opposite Denzel Washington in Brett Leonard’s sci-fi flick “Virtuosity” (1995) as the virtual reality entity turned serial killer android SID. He then starred opposite Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Leonardo DiCaprio in Sam Raimi’s western “The Quick and the Dead” (1995) as Cort, a former gang member turned preacher.
He’s picked up three Oscar nominations over his career with “The Insider” (1999), “Gladiator” (2000) and “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), with the latter two winning best picture. Crowe’s best actor win came with his performance in “Gladiator,” winning over Tom Hanks (“Cast Away”), Javier Bardem (“Before Night Falls”), Ed Harris (“Pollock”) and Geoffrey Rush (“Quills”).
Since then, he’s continued to dole out memorable characters and turns in best picture nominees like “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) from Peter Weir, “Cinderella Man” (2005) from Ron Howard and “3:10 to Yuma” (2007) from James Mangold.
In the last decade, he’s thrown himself into more mainstream and popcorn flicks like Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” (2013), Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” (2014) and Tom Cooper’s “Unhinged” (2020). However, he’s had a few acclaimed films and roles thrown in the mix of those selections such as “Les Misérables” (2012), which was nominated for best picture.
His next ventures include portraying Zeus in the upcoming Marvel sequel “Thor: Love and Thunder” from Taika Waititi, J.C. Chandor’s “Kraven the Hunter” opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose and Peter Farrelly’s “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” with Zac Efron and Bill Murray.
In celebration of Crowe’s birthday, Variety ranks his 10 best performances below, along with his best scene from each film (you can see by clicking on the play button on the individual image).
Honorable mentions: “Man of Steel” (2013), “Noah” (2014) and “State of Play” (2009)