AACTA President - Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush is quite simply one of the world's greatest actors. A king of stage and screen, he is a Triple Crown wearer who has uniquely captured the hearts and minds of not just judges and critics, but audiences around the world. His mantelpiece is crowded with awards and honours: an Academy Award (SHINE), a Tony Award (EXIT THE KING) and an Emmy Award (THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS), all on his first attempt. Then there's the two Golden Globes, three BAFTAS, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, not to mention two AFI Awards and an AFI Raymond Longford Award.

Yet like the Australian screen industry itself, Rush's career has been unconventional and unpredictable, and has flourished in spite of adversity. As he acknowledged in his rousing and hugely entertaining acceptance speech for the 2009 AFI Raymond Longford Award, an Australian career in the Arts is a hard road to travel; a road not properly mapped or signposted, and one where artistic achievement is rarely given serious attention in the mainstream media.

As someone who has (in his own words) 'ridden shotgun alongside' the growth of the local industry, Geoffrey Rush is the ideal inaugural President of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Equally at home on the world stage as he is chatting to struggling thespians or first time filmmakers, Geoffrey Rush knows it is possible to champion the survival of local film schools and bravely ambitious art, even as you provide swaggering pleasure in a global popcorn franchise like PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN.

There is no one more suited than Geoffrey Rush to serve as President of AACTA, an Academy whose primary role is to identify, award, promote and celebrate Australia's greatest achievements in film and television. Geoffrey Rush knows what it is to be part of those great achievements, as well as understanding the issues and challenges that face those involved in our screen industries.

As the industry engagement arm of the AFI, and the peak industry body for Australia's screen professionals, AACTA welcomes the international profile and perspective Geoffrey Rush brings to our activities, as well as his ongoing and passionate engagements with local productions, debates and talents.


"...above all [it's the joy] of meeting so many glorious like-minded, resilient and original practitioners who just keep on popping out of nowhere. People with irrepressibly tough spirits. Who know their destiny or at least that their aspiration is in the pursuit of excellence. Striving to be among the elite, yes, in the very best and only possible sense of the word."

Geoffrey Rush, AACTA President



Geoffrey made his professional debut at the Queensland Theatre Company in 1971 and worked there as an ensemble member for three years. For the next 20 years he worked primarily in all of the major theatre companies of Australia and in the mid-seventies studied at the prestigious Jacques Lecoq School of Mime, Movement and Theatre in Paris.

He was a principal member of Jim Sharman's pioneering Lighthouse ensemble in the early '80's, where he played leading roles in numerous classics.

In 1989, his performance in Neil Armfield's production of THE DIARY OF A MADMAN earned him the Sydney Critics' Circle Award for Most Outstanding Performance, the Variety Club Award, and the Victorian Green Room Award. This highly acclaimed production toured Moscow and St Petersburg with a triumphant return to the Adelaide Festival. In 2010/2011 a revival of this work played at Belvoir Theatre in Sydney and at the Brooklyn Academy in New York.

He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in EXIT THE KING - a Belvoir/Malthouse production that played an unprecedented season on Broadway to great acclaim in 2009.

In the mid-90's he began a mid-life film career. His performance in SHINE as pianist David Helfgott brought him sudden international recognition. The film received 7 Oscar nominations – the only Australian film to be so honoured – and saw Geoffrey become the first actor to win an Oscar, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for a single performance.

As an actor he has been nominated for an Oscar four times for his roles in SHINE, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, QUILLS and THE KING’S SPEECH.

In January 2012, Geoffrey Rush was named Australian of the Year.  This honour, which celebrates the contribution of eminent citizens to the Australian community, was presented by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.


2014    Nominee, 3rd AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor, THE BOOK THIEF

2012    Nominee, Inaugural AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor, EYE OF THE STORM

2009    AFI Raymond Longford Award

2006    Nominee, AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor, CANDY

2003    AFI Global Achievement Award

2002    Nominee, AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, SWIMMING UPSTREAM

1998    Nominee, AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL

1996    AFI Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role, SHINE