Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
The State Within
The latest in an illustrious line of actors to convince American audiences that the British make the cinema's most sinister and cold-hearted villains, Jason Isaacs earned the vicarious enmity and disgust of filmgoers everywhere in his role as the vile Colonel Tavington in the 2000 summer blockbuster The Patriot. Actually an incredibly versatile performer whose previous characterizations included a priest, a brilliant scientist, and a drug dealer, the tall, blue-eyed actor won admiration and respect for his performance, and soon found himself being hailed in the American press as one of the most exciting British imports of the early 21st century.
The third of four sons of a Liverpool merchant, Isaacs was born in his father's hometown on June 6, 1963. He initially planned to go into law -- a white-collar profession that would have fit nicely with those of his brothers, who became a doctor, lawyer, and accountant -- but was swayed by acting early in the course of his law studies at Bristol University. Although he first became interested in acting in part because "it was a great way to meet girls," Isaacs soon found deeper meaning in the theater (in one interview he was quoted as saying "I could release myself into acting in a way that I was not released socially") and duly dropped out of Bristol to hone his skills at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.