- Began his ascent to stage-acting prominence as a 15-year-old, following his acclaimed portrayal of Primo Levi in the play If This Is a Man at the 1995 Edinburgh Festival.
- Received the Most Promising Newcomer award at the 2001 British Independent Film Awards for his costarring role in the film My Brother Tom.
- Was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2005 for his performance in Trevor Nunn's version of Hamlet.
- Won the 2009 International Emmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor for his work in the BBC television series Criminal Justice.
- Has said in interviews that he doesn't read reviews of his work.
- 2016, BAFTA Television Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
- 2007, BAFTA Film Awards — Rising Star Award: Nominee
- 2008, Independent Spirit Awards — Robert Altman Award: Winner
- Jose Whishaw — Father
- Linda Whishaw — Mother
- Mark Bradshaw — Significant Other
- James Whishaw — Brother
- The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England (2003)