- His time is due:
Oldman has lit up our screen over the last four decades. He has mastered cult roles such as Sid Vicious in 1986’s Sid and Nancy and a football firm leader in The Firm, as well as mainstream performances in classics such as in Leon: The Professional, when he gave one of cinema’s defining antagonistic performances, and conflicted police chief James Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy. This would be his first Academy Award, and the list of winners seems incomplete without him.
- A servant to the art:
Oldman decried the Golden Globes for catering to television ratings instead of celebrating art. Oldman’s career, in which he has displayed extraordinary versatility and character acting ability, is a testament to his devotion to simply making good films. The Darkest Hour displays this in his willingness to disappear under a sea of makeup to get Churchill right. For someone who has given it all for our entertainment, it is only fair to give him something back.
- He plays Churchill very, very well:
The most important reason why Oldman should be an uncontested winner this year. He tackles one of history’s defining characters, one that has been done to the death, resurrected, and done again, with aplomb and range which displays the full Winston Churchill on screen for the audience. He absolutely disappears into the role; you don’t see Oldman acting when you look to the screen; you see Churchill. And how. Churchill’s strength and charisma is all there, and there is no lack of confident actors who could and would pull of his bravado. However, Oldman sets himself apart by giving us a vulnerable picture of the man, full of self-doubt, startlingly human, and forced to dig deep to become the man his country needs. The film is not, fortunately, a jingoist vehicle to display Churchill’s successful victory over Germany, instead, it portrays his conflicts at home, within himself and the people immediately around him. It is a fascinating character study which makes the film, pulling the entire project up to a nomination singlehandedly.
Image credit: Screen grab