Dakota’s journey in the entertainment industry began after he earned a TV commercial as a 2-week-old infant. In 2005, he played the voice role of ‘Little Blue’ in ‘Disney's Canadian–American interactive stop-motion musical comedy series ‘JoJo's Circus,’ created for preschool children. The following year, he appeared as ‘Brett’ in the Helen Shaver-directed action–adventure–comedy TV movie ‘Ultra.’ He also produced the movie.
The 2007-released American sports drama ‘Resurrecting the Champ,’ directed by Rod Lurie and starring Samuel L. Jackson, featured Dakota in the role of ‘Teddy Kernan,’ son of ‘Erik Kernan Jr.’ (played by Josh Hartnett). The role fetched Dakota a nomination for the ‘Young Artist Award’ for the Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actor Age Ten or Younger’ in 2008. He also appeared in the Canadian drama film ‘Emotional Arithmetic’ (2007). The movie premiered at the 2007 ‘Toronto International Film Festival’ and released in Canada on April 18 the following year.
He voiced a little boy in the American–Canadian interactive CGI computer-animated TV series for children ‘Super Why!’ in 2008.
He played ‘Jack Carter-9’ in the Canadian–American superhero comedy–drama film ‘Defendor’ that had its world premiere at the ‘Toronto International Film Festival’ on September 12, 2009. He starred in the 2009-released ‘Lifetime’-aired thriller TV movie ‘My Neighbor's Secret.’ That year, he also featured in the TV movie ‘Solving Charlie’ and in the series ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ and ‘The Listener.’
In 2010, he lent his voice to ‘Timmy Tibble’ in the extremely popular Canadian–American animated educational TV series ‘Arthur,’ developed for children between 4 and 8 years of age. The following year, he essayed the role of ‘Young Thor’ in the Kenneth Branagh-directed and Chris Hemsworth-starrer American superhero film ‘Thor.’ The film was a sensational hit, garnering generally positive reviews.
He earned his real breakthrough in films when he was cast in the starring role of ‘Max Kenton,’ the estranged son of ‘Charlie Kenton’ (played by Hugh Jackman), in the American science-fiction sports film ‘Real Steel.’ The Shawn Levy film premiered at the ‘Le Grand Rex’ in Paris on September 6, 2011. The ‘Academy Award’-nominated film became a huge commercial success and paved Dakota’s way for several other notable films. It also won him the ‘Young Artist Award’ for the ‘Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor’ in 2012.
An episode from the Canadian–American horror–fantasy anthology series ‘R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour,’ titled ‘Flight,’ featured him in the role of ‘Josh.’ This role earned Dakota a ‘Daytime Emmy Award’ nomination in the category of ‘Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series’ and a ‘Young Artist Award’ nomination for the ‘Best Performance in a TV Series – Guest Starring Young Actor 11–13’ in 2012.
He voiced ‘Jamie Bennett’ in the ‘DreamWorks Animation’-produced 3D computer-animated action–fantasy film ‘Rise of the Guardians.’ The film premiered at the ‘Mill Valley Film Festival’ on October 10, 2012, and had its international premiere at the ‘International Rome Film Festival’ on November 13 the same year.
He starred in the February 22, 2013-released American science-fiction horror ‘Dark Skies,’ starring along with Keri Russell, J. K. Simmons, and Josh Hamilton. The film became a blockbuster hit, grossing $26.4 million at the box office, against a budget of $3.5 million.
The Darren Aronofsky-directed American epic biblical drama film ‘Noah’ saw Dakota as young ‘Noah,’ while the elder version of the character was played by Russell Crowe. The film also starred Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, and Ray Winstone. It had its world premiere in Mexico City on March 10, 2014. It was released in the US on March 28, 2014. It became a sensational hit, grossing a whopping $362.6 million at the box office, against a budget of $125 million.
He played the lead role of ‘Luke,’ starring with Goran Višnjić and Bridget Moynahan, in the Canadian–Italian family adventure–drama movie ‘The Journey Home,’ originally titled ‘Midnight Sun.’ The film released in Italy on November 13, 2014, and later in Canada on September 4, 2015.