His portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” had already earned him a trove of awards declaring him 2017’s best actor: a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, a trophy from the Screen Actors Guild, and a BAFTA (the British equivalent of an Academy Award). But tonight, Gary Oldman made his near-sweep of awards season complete by finally winning the Oscar.
With an illustrious career spanning 30 years, it is somewhat surprising that he has only ever received two best actor Oscar nominations (the other was in 2012 for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). From Sid Vicious to Winston Churchill, here’s a look at some of his most memorable roles.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesThe PunkGary Oldman first roared onto American screens in the 1986 biopic “Sid and Nancy,” starring as punk-rock star Sid Vicious (opposite Chloe Webb as Sid’s girlfriend Nancy Spungeon). The following year, he picked up the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his role as British playwright Joe Orton in the biopic “Prick Up Your Ears.”Mondadori Portfolio via Getty ImagesThe Alleged AssassinOldman starred as Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s conspiracy thriller “JFK” (1991). Despite some controversial reviews, it received eight Oscar nominations.
Archive Photos/Getty ImagesThe Blood SuckerPerhaps one of his most dramatic makeovers came on the set of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the classic horror novel. The film won three Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Sound Effects.Steve Pyke/Getty ImagesThe Director“Nil by Mouth,” about a working-class family in London struggling with domestic violence and alcohol, was Oldman’s first (and to date only) directorial project; it received two BAFTAs in 1998 for Outstanding British Film and Best Original Screenplay. This photo was one of a series shot on the now-demolished Bonamy Estate in South London, in the area where Oldman grew up.
Getty ImagesThe PimpIn 1993, he starred in Tony Scott’s cult classic “True Romance” as scar-faced pimp Drexyl Spivey alongside Hollywood A-listers Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Walken. Who can forget that swinging lampshade scene?Patrick Camboulive/Sygma via Getty ImagesThe Bad CopIn Luc Besson’s “Léon: The Professional,” he played the corrupt DEA agent Stansfield up against the young Mathilda (played unforgettably by 11-year-old Natalie Portman). The film was a huge box office success, but was mainly only nominated for European film awards.Keith Hamshere/Getty ImagesThe ComposerOften described as chameleonic, he once again immersed himself in the biopic “Immortal Beloved” for his role as Ludwig van Beethoven.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesThe British Intelligence OfficerBefore “Darkest Hour,” Oldman received only one other Oscar nomination, for his role in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” the film adaptation of John le Carre’s 1974 Cold War novel. He played master spy George Smiley, alongside John Hurt, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch. It won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film in 2012.Evening Standard/Getty ImagesOldman as a young boy. “I’ve lived in America for the longest time and am deeply grateful to her for the lumps and the friendships I have made and for the wonderful gifts it has given to me,” Oldman said upon accepting his first Oscar.