Oscar Actors: Buscemi, Steve–Quintessential Indie Performer (Fargo, Big Lebowski)

Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York.  He discovered his passion for acting in high school and, after graduating, he moved to Manhattan to study acting with Lee Strasberg.  There he and fellow actor/writer Mark Boone Junior began writing and performing their own theatre pieces in performance spaces and downtown theatres.  This soon led to Steve being cast in his first lead role in Bill Sherwood’s PARTING GLANCES.


Since this breakout performance, Buscemi has become the actor of choice for some of the most respected directors in the business. Aficionados of American films know him from Jim Jarmusch’s MYSTERY TRAIN (1986); Quentin Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS (1992); the Coen Brothers’ FARGO (1996) and THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998); and Terry Zwigoff’s GHOST WORLD (2001), for which Buscemi won the Independent Spirit Award, The New York Film Critics Award, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.


In addition to his talents as an accomplished actor, Buscemi has proven to be a respected writer and director as well.  His directing credits include TREES LOUNGE (1996), which he also wrote; ANIMAL FACTORY (2000); LONESOME JIM (2005); and INTERVIEW (2007), which he also co-wrote.  Buscemi’s directing work also includes numerous television credits, including HBO’s “The Sopranos”, for which he was nominated for an Emmy and a DGA Award for directing the “Pine Barrens” episode during the third season.



Select Filmography


2009 JOHN RABE, directed by Florian Gallenberger

2009 YOUTH IN REVOLT, directed by Miguel Arteta

2009 RAGE, directed by Sally Potter

2009 THE MESSENGER, directed by Oren Moverman

2007 I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE, directed by Chris Rock

2007 INTERVIEW, directed by Steve Buscemi

2006 DELIRIOUS, directed by Tom DiCillo

2006 PARIS, JE T´AIME, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

2006 ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, directed by Terry Zwigoff

2006 ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES, directed by John Turturro

2005 THE ISLAND, directed by Michael Bay

2003 BIG FISH, directed by Tim Burton

2003 COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, directed by Jim Jarmusch

2001 GHOST WORLD, directed by Terry Zwigoff

2000 28 DAYS, directed by Betty Thomas

1998 ARMAGEDDON, directed by Michael Bay

1998 THE BIG LEBOWSKI, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

1997 CON AIR, directed by Simon West

1996 KANSAS CITY, directed by Robert Altman

1996 TREES LOUNGE, directed by Steve Buscemi

1996 FARGO, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

1995 LIVING IN OBLIVION, directed by Tom DiCillo

1994 PULP FICTION, directed by Quentin Tarantino

1992 RESERVOIR DOGS, directed by Quentin Tarantino

1986 MYSTERY TRAIN, directed by Jim Jarmusch

1989 NEW YORK STORIES, directed by Martin Scorsese

1986 PARTING GLANCES, directed by Bill Sherwood