30th January 2012
Spotlight on Geoffrey Rush – Australian of the Year
Geoffrey Rush was named Australian of the Year 2012, for his achievement on the stage and screen and for his commitment to the Australian arts. As the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than 30 years, Commonwealth Bank is proud to recognize the achievements of this year’s award recipients.
Treading the boards
Born in Toowoomba, raised in Brisbane, Geoffrey Rush joined a repertory company immediately after graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in English literature. He remained working in Australian theatre for 28 years, acting in everything from Shakespeare to Beckett. Then in 1992, he was cast as David Helfgott, the pianist who suffers a breakdown in Shine, won an Oscar for Best Actor, and his film trajectory exploded both at home and overseas.
The big screen
Rush’s film credits include Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Bran Nue Dae, The King’s Speech and a host of other roles in film and voice.
A truly gifted actor, Rush is one of the few people to have won the ‘Triple Crown of Acting’ – an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He also has three British Academy Film Awards, two Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, a number of AFI awards and has been inducted into the ranks of Australia’s elite performing artists with a Helpmann Award.
Hard-wired for storytelling
In his acceptance speech, Mr Rush said that he was proud to be an Australian, noting that his 40-year career had happily coincided with the growth of the Australian arts scene. While there was more work to be done, Rush commented that it was easy to be an arts lover in Australia.
“I know that hard-wired into every Australian from every background we love acting the goat, taking the mickey, cracking a joke, spinning a yarn,” he said. “We live on an island that boasts the oldest nation on earth. There is an inspiration right there, where performance rituals are at the heart of its being – Our Dreaming.”
Inspiration, commitment and passion
CEO of Commonwealth Bank, Ian Narev, said, “The recipients of the Australian of the Year Awards for 2012 remind us of the great diversity of achievements, talents and contributions in Australia. They inspire us with their commitment, passion and hard work. We can all feel very proud to call them our fellow Australians.”