Starting out on the stage in his native land, he made the move to Hollywood productions in the mid-1990s, making his reputation with his performance as troubled pianist David Helfgott in Shine, which won him the Oscar for Best Actor. A slew of roles in popular films followed, including Elizabeth and its sequel (alongside fellow mid-1990s breakthrough Australian Cate Blanchett), Shakespeare in Love, Quills, the Pirates of the Caribbean films and The King's Speech.
Also following were two additional Academy Award nominations, an Emmy, and a Tony, making him a rare winner of the Triple Crown of Acting. In 2012, he won the Australian of the Year award for his innumerable contributions to culture and the arts. Still not as good as a Grammy, though YMMV on that.
Notable films and roles:
- David Helfgott in Shine (1996)
- Inspector Javert in Les Miserables (1998)
- Sir Francis Walsingham in Elizabeth (1998)
- Reprised the role in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
- Philip Henslowe in Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- Casanova Frankenstein in Mystery Men (1999)
- Stephen Price in House on Haunted Hill (1999)
- The Marquis de Sade in Quills (2000)
- Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama (2001)
- Leon Trotsky in Frida (2002)
- Nigel in Finding Nemo (2003)
- Narrator, Harvie Krumpet (2003)
- Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
- Reprises the role in Kingdom Hearts II (only in the Australian Dub)
- Donovan Donaly in Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
- Peter Sellers in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)
- Ephraim in Munich (2005)
- Casper in Candy (2006)
- Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
- Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
- Lionel Logue in The King's Speech (2010)
- Ron in The Warrior's Way (2010)
- The voice of Tomar Re in Green Lantern (2011)
- Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
- Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief (2013)
- Virgil Oldman in The Best Offer (2013)
- The narrator of Minions (2016)
- Ra in Gods of Egypt (2016)
- Albert Einstein in Genius (2017)
- Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Tropes associated with Geoffrey Rush:
- Classically Trained Extra: He's one of the most well-respected actors around and can convincingly mix playing murderous pirates and tortured Musical geniuses.
- Evil Sounds Deep: When he's playing Barbossa, his voice seems to get even raspier.
- Fake Brit: Much like fellow Aussie Cate Blanchett, so many of his famous roles are British that quite a few people doubtless think he is one.
- Large Ham: Constantly gets roles which allow him to have fun (including villains such as Casanova Frankenstein and Barbossa, where it's proven Mr. Rush is the only man hammy enough to go head to head with Johnny Depp). Also amusingly played with in The King's Speech where he's mostly quite subdued, but the character is a terrible ham in-universe and sounds distinctly like Barbossa while playing with his kids.
- Male Frontal Nudity: In Quills.