Hugh Jackman’s 12 Best Performances: From ‘X-Men’ to ‘The Son’

Hugh Jackman


The depth of Hugh Jackman, the Australian leading man whose multi-talented arsenal has graced the screen and stages over the last three decades, is one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile actors. His movies have a collective gross of more than $5 billion worldwide, placing him in the top 25 earners of all time.

To celebrate Jackman’s birthday, Variety ranks his 12 best film performances of his career so far.

His big break came when he landed the superhero Wolverine in 20th Century Fox’s inaugural “X-Men” (2000), which was followed by several sequels and spin-offs, most notably “Logan” (2017).

An actor’s actor, he’s worked alongside some of the industry’s finest actors such as Nicole Kidman (“Australia”) and Meg Ryan (“Kate and Leopold”) and visionary directors like Christopher Nolan (“The Prestige”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”).

After hosting the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, his personal invitation to the Oscars when he took on the famous role of Frenchman and former prisoner Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” (2012), which earned him a best actor nomination, in addition to a Golden Globe prize for lead actor (comedy/musical). The film went on to gross over $440 million worldwide.

A profound career is not complete without an Oscar snub or two, and Jackman has those on his resume. Some were charmed by his 19th-century time traveler in James Mangold’s “Kate & Leopold” (2001), which earned him his first Golden Globe nom for lead actor (comedy/musical).

There are large pockets of cinephiles that adore his work in Darren Aronofsky’s romantic fantasy epic “The Fountain” (2006) opposite Rachel Weisz, while mainstream audiences will always love his P.T. Barnum in the musical “The Greatest Showman” (2017).

His turn as a father, desperate to find his kidnapped daughter in Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” (2013) has the actor going to places he’s very rarely explored.

In 2022, Jackman stars in Academy Award winner Florian Zeller’s sophomore film “The Son” from Sony Pictures Classics, playing a remarried father who attempts to connect with his estranged teenage son. His work has received positive word from critics and could earn him his second Oscar nomination this awards season. He’s also set to reprise his beloved Wolverine in the next installment of “Deadpool,” due out in 2024.

Read Variety’s list of Jackman’s 12 best performances below, along with the best scene from each movie.

Honorable mentions: “The Fountain” (2006); “Real Steel” (2011); “X-Men: Days of Future Past (2013)

From Variety US