Three years ago, Oscar Isaac was an obscure actor in his mid-30s who didn’t seem to be going anywhere very fast. Small parts in films like Che, Robin Hood and Madonna’s disastrous Wallis Simpson biopic W.E. hadn’t attracted much notice, and he was still auditioning for theatre plays and TV shows when the Coen brothers asked him to try out for their 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis.
A wry drama set in 1960s Greenwich Village and telling the story of a struggling folk musician, it was a role tailor-made for Issac, who’s a musician himself and still regularly performs. He got the part, was nominated for a Golden Globe and suddenly every casting agent in Hollywood was interested in him.