Ethan Hawke: A Life In Pictures

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Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise, 1995
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise, 1995

As BAFTA celebrates Ethan Hawke, we pick our highlights from the actor's career

In their latest A Life In Pictures last night, BAFTA celebrated the career of Ethan Hawke. On December 18th the Academy will take a look back at some of the highlights from Hawke’s illustrious career, sharing insights into the experiences that helped hone and develop his craft. His art-for-art's-sake ethos has seen Hawke’s career build steadily, opting to select projects based on artistic merit and gut instinct. First coming to prominence at the age of 18 in Dead Poets Society in 1989, Hawke has starred in more than forty films, sharing the screen with the likes of Denzel Washington, Julie Delpy and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. From popcorn movies to critically acclaimed independent films, the three-time Oscar nominee’s idiosyncratic career peaked in Richard Linklater’s 2014 critically acclaimed coming of age film, Boyhood, which Hawke began filming in 2002. From school boy to a CIA agent, here are AnOther's favourite Hawke moments.

Dead Poets Society
In one of the defining dramas of the late '80s, Dead Poets Society, set in Vermont in 1959, is a tale of non-conformity and self-belief. A Welton Academy boarding school teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), encourages his students to 'make lives extraordinary.' In Hawke’s breakthrough role as shy senior Todd Anderson, he successfully did just that. The actor took a risk, dropping out of Carnegie Mellon University during his freshman year to pursue the film, but when Dead Poets Society was nominated for four Academy Awards, it launched his career, the class's rendition of Walt Whitman's 'O Captain! My Captain' becoming an indelible part of pop culture.

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight
Before Sunrise is that extraordinary thing – a profoundly romantic meet-cute set up, on a train no less, between a brash American and a sensual French girl, that manages to skirt clichés and make a wise and witty statement on love and chance encounters. Written in a collaborative process between Hawke, Delpy and director Richard Linklater, the story extends on past the tantalising will-they, won't-they cliffhanger of the first film, into a second film, Before Sunset, which shows them meeting again ten years on in Paris, and then a third, on holiday with their young family in Greece. These are films about people, relationships, miscommunication and talking, talking, talking – fundamentally they prize humanity over Hollywood values and are extraordinary for it.

Boyhood, the 2014 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater and shot intermittently over an eleven-year period from May 2002 to October 2013 present’s Hawke in severe dad-mode. Exploring the development process from childhood to adulthood, Boyhood prizes the nonevent, chronicling the life of a boy from age six to eighteen. Spoiler: the boy just grows up. In a tribute to the abhorred post school enquiry – ‘how was your day?’ – this scene showcases Hawke’s caricature of inquisitive dad’s on after-school pickup duty.