Gary Oldman is all but guaranteed to win his first Oscar this Sunday, if his track record over the course of this awards season is any indication. The actor, who’s been nominated only once before, is being recognized for his strong, makeup-heavy portrayal of Winston Churchill in the sumptuous World War II film Darkest Hour. Oldman has picked up every statuette of note in his path—including a SAG Award and a Golden Globe—and is a betting favorite to win the Academy Award, despite past controversies rearing in his campaign. For the Oldman neophyte, his portrayal of Churchill is just one of many examples of the transformative characters he’s played over the course of his decades-long career. From his punk turn in Sid and Nancy to his magical run as Sirius Black in several Harry Potter movies, here are 11 times Oldman was a true on-screen chameleon.
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Sid and Nancy
It was the role that caught everyone’s eye. In the 1986 biopic, Oldman made a star turn playing Sid Vicious, the raucous bassist of the Sex Pistols. Oldman’s performance is at once manic and nuanced, an in-depth look at the late punk star’s doomed inner life.Photo: From Samuel Goldwyn Films/Everett Collection.
Prick Up Your Ears
Based on the tragic, true story of Joe Orton, this 1987 biopic earned Oldman the lion’s share of praise for his nimble portrayal of the successful British playwright. Roger Ebert was an early fan, hailing his performance as one of the best of the year.Photo: From ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Oldman turned in a mirror-image performance as Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s lengthy, Academy Award-winning 1991 drama.Photo: From Warner Bros/Everett Collection.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Oldman was a gothic star in this 1992 vampire blockbuster, playing a trim young Dracula, then switching it up and layering on the makeup to play a wizened old Dracula.Photo: By Ralph Jr Nelson/Zoetrope/Columbia Tri-Star/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.
The Dark Knight
Oldman finely disappeared into the role of dependable, mustachioed Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s sleek 2008 Batman film.Photo: From Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Even though Oldman is an established chameleon, he often returns to the classic task of playing dramatic British gents, as he did in this 2011 adaptation of the John le Carré novel of the same name. The performance earned him his first Oscar nomination for best actor.Photo: From Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
And here it is, the movie of the moment. In the Joe Wright-directed drama, Oldman plays Winston Churchill, turning in a formidable performance as the iconic English leader, despite the layers of heavy makeup he had to wear. Oldman is now the favorite to win the best-actor Oscar this Sunday.Photo: By Jack English/Focus Features.PreviousNext
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