Did you know Gary Oldman’s only been nominated for an Oscar once? Yup, and it wasn’t until Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that he finally received it. That’s pretty surprising to hear when you look at Oldman’s illustrious and pretty varied career - Sid & Nancy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Prick Up Your Ears, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, True Romance, The Fifth Element… Okay, the last one is only Oscar worthy in my heart, but still.
Well now it seems all but guaranteed that Oldman will get his second nomination, and possibly even take the Oscar home, for Darkest Hour, in which he plays Winston Churchill himself in the early days of the Second World War. Much has been made about the impressive physical transformation required for the role, including extensive prosthetics and weight gain, but I think it’s fair to say that the result is immensely convincing. Even the voice, so frequently imitated by every British actor of a certain age, seems spot on.
Right now, the Oscar race is remarkably open for the taking. There’s no guaranteed front runner and we still have tons of films to see before the real predictions can be made. The Best Actor category could end up being pretty quiet too, as much anticipated performances fizzled on the festival circuit and perceived front-runners were pushed back to 2018. The field is Oldman’s for the taking, unless Daniel Day-Lewis’s final performance in the upcoming Phantom Thread is one for the ages.
Darkest Hour is directed by Joe Wright, his first film since his disastrous blockbuster Pan, and also stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Mendelsohn. Reviews have been strong so far, and if nothing else, it’ll make a fascinating double bill with Dunkirk.