French actor Omar Sy began his career in 1996 by working in the alternative radio station called Radio Nova where he appeared in his friend Jamel Debbouze’s show. There, he met Fred Testot and the two became the comedy duo Omar and Fred who appeared in a number of stage shows as well as sketch comedy shorts on television. On the television network Canal+, the two also appeared in shows ‘Le Cinéma de Jamel’ and ‘Le Visiophon’. His first film was the short film ‘Granturismo’ (2000) wherein he lent his voice (as Omar). He then went on to act in several French comedy films some of which are ‘La Tour Montparnasse Infernale’ (2001), ‘Le Boulet’ (2002), ‘The Race’ (2002), Samourais (2002), ‘La Beuze’ (2003) and ‘Le carton’ (2004). In 2005, the comedy duo began hosting ‘Service après-vente des émissions’ (till 2012), a short comedy segment in the Canal+ nightly news and talk show ‘Le Grand Journal’. The show brought them a lot of success and fame. His first major film role came in 2006 with Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano directed comedy movie ‘Nos jours heureux’ (‘Those Happy Days’) wherein he played the role of Joseph. In 2007, he did the French dub for the American animated comedy film ‘Surf's Up’ (character: Chicken Joe) and in 2009 lent his voice to the French language animated film ‘Lascars’ (character: Narbé) and the English language French animated/live-action film ‘Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard’ (character: Snow). Additionally in 2009, he also acted in several movies which include ‘King Guillaume’, ‘Micmacs’, ‘Tellement proches’, ‘Safari’, ‘Envoyés très spéciaux’ and ‘La Loi de Murphy’.
In 2011, Omar Sy starred in Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano directed buddy comedy drama ‘The Intouchables’. In this movie he played the role of a young man Driss, just out of jail, who is hired as a caregiver for a wealthy quadriplegic man Philippe played by actor François Cluzet. The film proved to be a massive box office success becoming one of the highest grossing films of the year. Worldwide, too, the film did exceedingly well. For Sy, the movie was a turning point in his career as he not only received appreciation but also numerous awards for his stellar performance. These include the best actor awards at ‘Tokyo International Film Festival’, ‘Lumières Awards’ and ‘Globe de Cristal Awards’. Moreover, he also became the first black actor to win the ‘César Award’ for Best Actor. His other film of the year was comedy film ‘Les Tuche’. The same year he also did a voiceover role in 52 episodes (till 2012) of animation tv series ‘Fish'n Chips’.
In 2012, he moved to Los Angeles and landed roles in the superhero film ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (2014), the action crime thriller film ‘Good People’ (2014) and the science fiction action film ‘Jurassic World’ (2015). He also acted alongside Bradley Cooper in the comedy drama ‘Burnt’ (2015) and with Tom Hanks in the action-adventure crime movie ‘Inferno’ (2016). Meanwhile he continued working in French cinema and acted in movies like ‘De l'autre côté du périph’ (2012), ‘Les seigneurs’ (2012), ‘Mais qui a re-tué Pamela Rose?’ (2012) and ‘Mood Indigo’ (2013). In France, he also portrayed the lead role in the romance comedy drama ‘Samba’ (2014) and biographical drama ‘Chocolat’ (2016). In the latter film, directed Roschdy Zem, Omar Sy gave an impressive performance as Rafael Padilla, the first black circus performer in Paris who became a national sensation. His performance once again bagged him the ‘Globe de Cristal Award’ for best actor as well as nominations in the Lumières Awards and César Awards in the same category. In the year 2016, he also starred in the French comedy drama film ‘Two Is a Family’ and did the French dubbing for the animated movie ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ and ‘Norm of the North’. Earlier, in 2014, he had lent his voice in French 3D computer animated adventure fantasy film ‘Mune: Guardian of the Moon’.
From 2017 to 2019, Omar Sy did voiceover roles in the computer animated movie ‘Sahara’ (2017, French dubbed version), the sci-fi action film ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ (2017) and another computer animated movie ‘Arctic Dogs’ (2019). His film releases since 2017 include ‘Knock’ (2017), ‘Belleville Cop’ (2018), ‘Yao’ (2018), ‘Le chant du loup’ (2019), ‘The Lost Prince’ (2020), ‘The Call of the Wild’ (2020), ‘Night Shift’ (2020), ‘Les méchants’ (2021), ‘The Takedown’ (2022), ‘Father & Soldier’ (2022) and ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ (2022). Amongst these the French sci-fi action-adventure ‘Le chant du loup’/’The Wolf's Call’ and the French-Senegalese war-drama ‘Father & Soldier’ have a Rotten Tomato approval rating of 85% and 83% respectively. He also produced the latter film.
Meanwhile, on television in 2021, he once again gained tremendous acclaim for his work in the Netflix series ‘Lupin’. In the series, he played Assane Diop, a gentleman thief who is inspired by the adventures of the master thief Arsène Lupin and sets out on a mission to get revenge on the family that inflicted injustice on his father. The ten-episode Netflix series became an international success and turned out to be one of the biggest shows on the platform in 2021. Omar Sy’s performance bagged him a nomination at the 2022 ‘Golden Globe Awards’ in the category of Best Actor – Television Series Drama. Amongst the awards that he won were the ‘Rose d'Or Award’ for Performance of the Year and ‘Satellite Award’ for Best Actor in a Drama/Genre Series.
In 2021, he was also honoured with the Career Achievement Award at the ‘Montreal International Black Film Festival’.