Rush's film debut was in the Australian film Hoodwink in 1981. His next film was in Gillian Armstrong's Starstruck, the following year. In 1996, he starred in Shine, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. From that point on, his career skyrocketed. In 1998 he appeared in three major films -- Les MisÚrables, in which he played Inspector Javert; Elizabeth, in which he played the suspicious Sir Francis Walsingham; and Shakespeare in Love in which he played the acting company manager who remained calm in the midst of chaos (and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor).