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on 22 Feb 2012 06:58

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10 Reasons Why Gary Oldman Should Get An Oscar

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"Whether playing a punk rocker, an assassin, a war vet, or a ghoul, Gary Oldman has consistently amazed viewers with his ability to completely disappear into his roles"

"Like a few gifted actors, he is able to re-invent himself for every role."
-Roger Ebert

"He's kind of like Mr. Potato Head. It's like he has this ability to transform himself into something different at will."
-Mel Gibson

"A candidate for the title of Greatest Living Actor"
-Colin Firth

"Another class act of the night was Best Actor nominee Gary Oldman who got up during the commercial break after losing Best Actor to Dujardin and sought out each of the other nominees to presumably commiserate or console them."
- Pete Hammond on 2012 Oscars
People who added this item 733  Average listal rating (382 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating 7.1 
1. Sid & Nancy (1986)
"It’s been said before, but Gary Oldman played Sid Vicious better than Sid Vicious could play himself. A then 28 year old barely known actor, Oldman bursts onto the scene as the leather-clad Sid Vicious, in all his chaotic glory, being a rebel for the joy of rebelling."

"Oldman captures the self destructive tendencies of Sid excellently and takes it to a frighteningly believable extreme. It is a terrifying and shocking experience to watch him run amuck in this film, spray painting walls, nonstop drinking, shooting heroin every chance he gets, burning houses, etc. He is the true essence of anarchy, and yet somehow we feel sympathy for him."

"This movie, however inaccurate, has got the spirit and Gary Oldman is perfect as Sid. The look and attitude is positively scary."

"Gary Oldman stars as Sid Vicious. Is there anything this man cannot do? Lee Harvey Oswald, a Russian terrorist, and now a punk rocker. And he nails the performance square on the head. One scene has Sid performing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" for a music video. Watching this scene alongside the actual video will show you that Oldman was inside the character and could out-Sid the Sid."

"Gary Oldman is flawless. He perfectly embodies every single characteristic of Sid Vicious. Walking him stumble around makes you feel as if you're watching a documentary instead of an actual picture. Easily one of the best performances of the 80s."

People who added this item 1131  Average listal rating (696 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating
2. JFK (1991)
"Gary Oldman was appropriately eery as Lee Harvey Oswald, and was perhaps the most memorable of the entire cast"

"Oldman gets the most out of a sweaty, tightly wound glance here, the reproduction of a unique and awkward syntax there. It's one of the great character actor performances of all time."

"Oldman further cements his chameleon status, using no makeup or changes to his general appearance but being completely unrecognizable under the skin of Lee Harvey Oswald, a performance so intriguing and calculated that I was always desperate to see more of him. The film presents Oswald as an enigma and Oldman, who is seen only through flashbacks, captures the essence of the character perfectly. You can always see the mind running in the eyes of this man, but the audience is never sure what he's actually thinking. We never know where he stands and that's what makes the mystery that much more fascinating. Oldman delivers an Oswald who is as much of an enigma as the assassination itself."

"Gary Oldman, for instance, sheds his usually mannered persona to bring Lee Harvey Oswald back to life. The resemblance between the actor and the real-life character is uncanny."

"Oldman is as good as ever. The man cannot deliver a bad performance, even in horrid films (Romeo is Bleeding)"

People who added this item 2816  Average listal rating (1825 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.5 
3. Dracula (1992)
"Initially, the casting of Gary Oldman as Dracula seemed inauspicious and ill advised; in retrospect, the choice of Oldman was inspired. Though many actors have done the role before and since (Schreck, Lugosi and Lee, just to name a few), Oldman manages to make the character uniquely his own, with a nuanced performance infused with depth and acuity. Even when delivering famous, oft quoted lines from previously filmed versions of the story (Lugosi's `Children of the night, what music they make,' for instance), Oldman makes them spontaneous and fresh, with a conversational tone that makes you feel as if you're hearing them for the first time. His presence is self-assured and menacing, which makes the character strong and intimidating, and you sense his longevity and the dark wisdom afforded him by his many years of existence. There is a fastidiousness about Oldman's methods of inhabiting a character that makes you wonder if there is anything as an actor that is beyond his grasp. At this point, I would think not."

"One exception is Gary Oldman’s transformations within the Dracula character, who repeatedly morphs from young lover to creepy, decrepit vampire to wolf to demon. Throughout all of these aliases, Oldman infuses Dracula with a mournful, yearning spirit."

"Gary Oldman makes for what may be the most memorable Dracula ever (I challenge you to name another besides Bela Lugosi)"

"However, even the best set design and effects are useless if the actor portraying Dracula is unconvincing. Thankfully, Gary Oldman gives the performance of a lifetime, commanding every scene. His performance is mesmerizing. Even when quoting lines that we have all known for years, Oldman makes them sound fresh. Using an accent strongly patterned after Bela Lugosi, he never lets this trope slip into parody, instead fostering a sense of nostalgia. Even though Lugosi still performs the famous line, “Listen to them, children of the night! What music they make,” better than Oldman, Oldman surpasses Lugosi in most other respects, matching Max Schreck and Christopher Lee in quality of performance. He invests all of his emotional energy into the character, and in some scenes, such as his confrontation with Van Helsing, he is absolutely terrifying. And yet, in other scenes, such as the pre-credit sequence and his later scenes with Mina, Oldman portrays a real sadness and pathos. It is an electrifying performance."

"However the whole movie comes together because of Gary Oldman's intoxicating essence. He draws the viewers into his darkness and passion and guides them through until the end."

People who added this item 1513  Average listal rating (946 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating
4. True Romance (1993)
"The dreads, the thug appeal, and the menacing fury that make up Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Drexl is so perfect that Director Tony Scott could only allow him about 10 minutes of screen time because viewers wouldn’t be able to handle his swagger for the entire duration of the film. Oldman’s chameleon-like transformation and his hypnotizing charisma burns this performance into cinematic history."

"Gary Oldman is one of the all time greats, a character actor and a master of his craft. I have never watched one of his films and thought, “Well, he’s just phoning it in.” He looks like he is putting everything into each role he takes, making even a tiny character like Drexyl Spivey completely memorable.

In a film containing a sit down dialogue scene between the great Christopher Walken and the late great Dennis Hopper, where both men display their own not inconsiderible screen commanding talents, Gary Oldman and his portrayl of Drexyl, a white pimp who thinks he’s black, still manages to outshine the two.

Drexyl could easily have been played for laughs, and could have failed, in the hands of a lesser actor.The one eye, the scars, the drealocks, the accent, all were Oldman’s contributions to Drexyl, giving him some substance and much needed character. Oldman makes him menacing, with each little head movement and smirk, stealing the film for me even though he has only two short scenes."


Oldman did not disappoint. As a white pimp who tries to act black, he crafted yet another unique character in his long career, one totally removed from any other character he's ever played. He absorbs so deeply into this character and it serves as another example in the long line of roles that make him the first actor people think of when they hear the word "chameleon".

"As Drexel Spivey, Oldman chews the scenery, digests it, and then expels it from every orifice. Keep in mind that he is an English actor with a normal speaking voice at home in the Royal Shakespeare Company. His performance here is second only to his turn in LEON in blatant over-the-top insanity."

People who added this item 163  Average listal rating (85 ratings) 6.5  IMDB Rating 6.6 
5. Romeo Is Bleeding (1993)
"In fact, 'Bleeding' is one of Oldman's best performances, embodying many of the attributes he's shown before and since, balancing the charisma of a simple man dancing with his wife in their backyard with the frenetic fear of a good-guy-gone-bad."

"Oldman's crooked cop in Peter Medak's twisted noir spends most of his time on screen in a fit of absolute confusion and denied fear. It's a playground for an actor like Oldman, who's best work sometimes can't be seen on the surface, rather it's seething below it, cresting with strokes of nuance that build throughout the performance. This unsung effort is a perfect example, quintessential, really."

"Oldman clearly has a taste for the wild side but outdoes himself as a self-deluding cop whose weakness for sex and money lets him tolerate no end of beatings, mutilations, humiliations and defeats."

"But the center of this movie is Gary Oldman. His blisteringly desperate performance as a corrupt cop at the end of the long slide to oblivion defines the movie and is both hypnotic and disturbing. His voiceovers are a worthy throwback to the old Raymond Chandler raps voiced by Bogart or Dick Powell or Robert Montgomery. This isn't a nice or likable character but Oldman is believably relatable as he inexorably tries to "feed the hole" with his greed and inevitably circles the existential drain."

"Gary Oldman is one of the best actors of his generation and nowhere is that comment more obvious than in his performance in this film. As Jack Grimaldi, his New York accent is spot-on. He creates a character which most people will recognize somewhere in his/her life and delivers it with such ease that you live Jack's life through this outstanding actor's performance."

People who added this item 290  Average listal rating (169 ratings) 7  IMDB Rating 7.4 
6. Immortal Beloved (1994)
"Heading through so many highs and lows, from searing disgust and animosity to lust-filled abandon, Oldman's version of the composer feels wonderfully organic. The actor is at home in Beethoven's skin, and knows precisely how to evoke the disconnections rife in the icon's life."

"Playing the villain is Gary Oldman’s specialty, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do anything else. Oldman plays the legendary Beethoven with enormous conviction and a wealth of passion. With every note Oldman plays as Beethoven, it’s as if he is truly transforming his emotions into musical sound. Oldman as Beethoven is rage and bliss rolled in gold."

"Gary Oldman plays the Maestro with finesse and style, filled with all the emotion and angst Oldman is becoming famous for."

"Once again, the actor combined many nuances to play the maestro, but to an entirely new level. As Beethoven, his performance seeped from the screen in a way that destroyed any notion of an audience at arm's distance, ironic since the composer was an infamously belligerent and standoffish man. Nevertheless, bringing Bernard Rose's world to life was an exercise in perfectly stifled pain.

He takes two worlds highly foreign to most -- deafness and classical music -- and combines them in such a manner that one quickly begins to grasp Beethoven's life at odds -- a man desperate to reconnect with the music he can no longer hear, which makes him vastly misunderstood and loathed, while also yearning to express the notes running through his head."


People who added this item 3833  Average listal rating (2581 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating 8.6 
7. Léon: The Professional (1994)
"Gary Oldman puts in a frighteningly intense performance as the crooked DEA boss Stansfield. He appears to be listening to an internal opera as he chokes down his mysterious drugs and unleashes his considerable anger and natural cynicism on an unsuspecting world."

"Gary Oldman, as the corrupt DEA Agent Norman Stansfield, offers the viewers an amazingly wired and electrical performance which pushes the envelope. He moves the story along by his actions. Oldman offers us a memorable portrait of a sadistically obsessed man who stops short of nothing to get what he wants."

"This is one of the films that likely sparked a number of viewers to Oldman's capacity to deliver an electrifying performance in a limited amount of time. The actor blows into Luc Besson's "Léon" with ferocious focus and delirious aggression. As the most corrupt of nitrate pill-popping detectives, his big moment features his character delighting in the surgical shotgun snuffing of an entire family, the (ironic) notes of Beethoven bouncing in his head. "Bring me everyone… EVVEERRYYOONNEE!"

"Gary Oldman is sadistic and cynical but at the same time energetic and occasionally amusing. His character was despicable; however Oldman plays the role to perfection." (By Listal user PvtCaboose91)

"However, the show is well-and-truly stolen by Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield, the creepy Beethoven-loving drug dealer. Both Leon and Mathilda are somewhat stoic characters, both played very straight by their actors. Oldman as Stansfield, on the other hand, just cuts loose. This is one of those performances that makes it even more unbelievable that Oldman’s first Oscar nomination was for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

"Gary Oldman is as usual, stunning in his performance, and he proves once again that he is a phenomenal actor. Oldman is truly an underrated talent in cinema."

People who added this item 153  Average listal rating (91 ratings) 6.8  IMDB Rating
8. The Contender (2000)
"Shelly Runyon is a politician that can kill his prey with verbal bullets, and be as calm as night. As Runyon, Oldman is sharp, and devoted to what he wants to prove. He’s like a battering ram to the skeletons hiding in your closet."

"Gary Oldman is a perfect adversary for Allen. His willingness to take chances, with both character and reputation, serves him well here, playing a man who sees himself as both unerringly moral and, by necessity, ruthlessly effective. In interviews, Oldman has said that he believes his character is the real tragic hero of the piece. If that heroism doesn't quite come across in the cut being shown, it is still easy to see glimpses in Oldman's characterization of an individual far more complicated and interesting than the run-of-the-mill political-drama villain. Like Allen's, his performance here is of the highest quality."

"Oldman in Rod Lurie's 2000 political pot-boiler "The Contender" was a casting stroke of genius. And the performance delivered as promised. Regardless of the ugly behind-the-scenes squabble over the film's point of view, Oldman is devilishly filled with resolve as a Conservative senator gunning for a vice-presidential appointee. He turns simple acts like eating a meal into tension-inducing tête-à-têtes. A SAG nomination came, but Oscar avoided."

"In this film, he completely personifies this character, creating a man who can only be described as memorable beyond belief (he even managed to make him irritating while chewing on a piece of meat...grrrr, stop making all that noise, you bastard!)."

People who added this item 1755  Average listal rating (1178 ratings) 5.9  IMDB Rating 6.4 
9. Air Force One (1997)
"If anyone can play a psychotic bitch’s bastard then it’s Gary Oldman. Here he’s a terrorist that has just hi-jacked Air Force One and clashes with President Indiana Jones. As Ivan, Oldman is cold, passionately devoted to success, and ruthless without being a cartoon character."

"Gary Oldman’s performance as the Mother Russia-spewing, merciless radical terrorist forerunner is comparable to such great villain roles as Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber. It’s not nearly as likeable or intelligent, but he brings a distinct authenticity to the part that’s scary, intense and unforgettable."

"Praise must go to Gary Oldman as Ivan Korshunov, leader of the group of terrorists. He excels at playing the bad guy but I think this character is something special. Usually the villain’s motives aren’t explained, they are de-humanised and the audience feels no sympathy for them. But far from being a crazy lunatic, he makes Korshunov human, which can be quite unsettling. There are times when his persuasive rhetoric (combined with a convincing Russian accent) makes you wonder if he isn’t just a regular guy who was pushed to the very edge and foolishly chose to resort to extreme methods. In using the argument, “You, who murdered a hundred thousand Iraqis to save a nickel on a gallon of gas, are going to lecture me on the rules of war?” he makes the audience see the Americans, and by association The President, in an unflattering light. Korshunov is a powerful character, and pitting him in opposition to the President adds an extra interesting facet to the film."

"Gary Oldman is superb as lead terrorist Ivan Korshunov. Delivering the calculated nature of a leader but also that deranged mind which also makes him menacing, it is as powerful a performance as that of Ford's."

People who added this item 1016  Average listal rating (612 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.1 
10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
"This one is a unique piece of work for the actor, internalized, quiet, passive, observational, measured. He's mixed those elements into other performances but never boiled them down to such an essence. In a twist of irony, this is the role that puts him in front of a vast ensemble, rather than a small part of it, like we've seen so often."

"All these roles are played formidably, yet Gary Oldman’s Smiley is the plum role. In large glasses, with lank hair and an ill-fitting overcoat, his Smiley looks unimpressive, but has a razor-sharp brain and a touch of ruthlessness."

"We've never seen Oldman like this before, and he’s simply stunning: his soliloquy about his only meeting with his counterpart, the Soviet super-spy Karla, is so engrossing you forget to breathe. Alec Guinness immortalised Smiley in the 1970s TV version of this story, yet Oldman is easily his equal."

"Oldman's Smiley, so correct he even swims with those glasses on, is a man who by all appearances is tired, colorless and defeated, the drab epitome of the unthreatening drone with an unreliable wife thrown into the bargain. But in his methodical and imperturbable way, Smiley is a master at his game, someone you underestimate at your peril, and Oldman's quietly commanding performance fully understands the power inherent in restraint."

"Oldman's performance is superb, by the way, and not easy considering his flashier moments include trying on a new pair of eyeglasses and removing his shoes."


Other notable performances by Gary Oldman

People who added this item 102  Average listal rating (56 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating 7.3 
11. Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
Oldman, fresh from his triumph as Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy, is the key and holds it all together.

People who added this item 196  Average listal rating (94 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.3 
12. State of Grace (1990)
Mr. Oldman gives an electrifying performance that both establishes a tragic, terrifying character and explains why that character's world is such a perilous place.

People who added this item 2880  Average listal rating (1813 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating 6.7 
13. Hannibal (2001)
Gary Oldman absolutely steals the show as Mason Verger playing the role just the right side of camp complete with some great make up.

People who added this item 6410  Average listal rating (4335 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating 8.3 
14. Batman Begins (2005)
It's wonderful to see the incredibly talented and much underrated Gary Oldman as Sgt. Gordon, the only decent cop in Gotham, and he truly makes the role his own.

People who added this item 370  Average listal rating (176 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.7 
15. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
Gary Oldman is intoxicating! Watching him as Rosencrantz you will forget all about your Jack Sparrows after this (goatee and all, Depp totally stole his persona from Oldman). He's Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Roberto Benigni, and Peter Sellers all rolled into one! I plan to find more such characters from Oldman - certainly one of the most sublime and delightful performances of all time!

People who added this item 4486  Average listal rating (3161 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.6 
16. The Fifth Element (1997)
Gary Oldman: he's done a junkie Pistol, he's done a gay playwright, he's done a deaf Austrian composer, he's done a blood-drinking undead version of Brad Pitt; here, he is Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, an interstellar black market arms dealer with a Bible Belt drawl – is there anything this actor can't do?

People who added this item 5796  Average listal rating (3861 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.8 
17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The role of Sirius Black was tailor made for Gary Oldman - he has a requisite creepiness with just a dose of humanity to bring the character to life


 

Who loves Gary Oldman? No wait, the question should be, who DOESN'T love Gary Oldman. This man is an amazing actor, the best of the best, but still he hasn't gotten a single Oscar nomination. I am confident that now that he got the nomination, he will win the freaking Academy Award. And if he doesn't, I will no longer show any interest to this worthless Academy of idiots. So here's my homage to one of the greatest and possibly most underrated actors this planet has ever seen.

This is a tribute to this great actor and I've collected some of his best performances and some comments about him.

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Comments

Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 24 15:06
Classic... I bet he himself would've been impressed by this list!

How about making more on famous stars who haven't still received an Oscar nomination... I was thinking of making on Jim Carrey but making one now would seem like copying!
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 24 21:54
Terrific list and notes!!
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 24 23:05
Couldn't agree more with this list, Gary Oldman is just fantastic, why they haven't recognized his talent before is beyond me. The Oscars don't mean anything until Gary gets one!
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 25 1:42
Tremendous job! I too find it inconceivable he hasn't won an Oscar in all this time. It'll be great if he finally gets one, but I feel like he's had plenty of roles already (as you've showed) that should have earned one for him long before now.
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 25 2:28
This list wins
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Feb 25 2:41
http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1465839
He deserves double Oscar :)
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Feb 25 11:20
As it has been said that it's quite ironic that he got the nomination with a more modest type of a character, even though he has made some incredible performances as a character that's not so mentally stable.

Thank you all for the votes and comments, we'll see if he gets the long waited Oscar finally. I myself am going to watch the Oscars this year even though I said to myself few years ago I'd never watch them again :D
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Feb 25 16:11
He's really a one man show...!!! Proud to have such a dedicated and talented actor around... :) :) He does (a MUST) deserve an Oscar, but whether he gets it or not, we all know he's a marvelous actor... he doesn't at all need so-called Oscar to get the world's acknowledgment :) :)
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Feb 27 19:07
Wonderful list! One of my favorites to be honest. Oldman should definitely get an Oscar, and he probably will soon.

Added you here: http://www.listal.com/list/2011-films-top-10
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Feb 28 11:25
Gary Oldmanin pitäisi todellakin voittaa Oscar, mahtava näyttelijä ja loistava lista! :)
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Feb 28 18:34
He is great and I hope he will win one day (probably for supporting role). But he had no chance this year.even his nomination was uncertain - he wasn't nominated for SAG,Golden Globe or critics' awards.But Academy nominated him against all odds, which means they like him.so one day it will happen!!!
Avatar
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Mar 19 19:42
he was good at the book of eli, too
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Mar 21 16:30
It's Gary's 54th birthday today!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 24 13:04
This guy is even brilliant on "Friends."
Avatar
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at May 24 1:05
I fucking love Gary Oldman.
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Jun 24 16:09
+++
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Jun 24 18:14
Probably the first or second time I'd seen him was in "Honest, Decent and True" (http://www.listal.com/tv/honest-decent-true-1986), when A&E was great television. Though there were some very familiar British faces in the show, Oldman walked away with it!
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Jun 25 6:31
really, he should get an Oscar.
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Jun 26 4:01
Amen. He is an incredible and versatile actor. One of my favorites. Of course Drexle is my favorite. I love True Romance.
Posted: 2 years ago at Jul 28 21:43
This List was definitely needed, Another great performance which wasn't mentioned was "State of Grace" (1990), Gary Oldman & Seas Penn. Again Oldman gives us his all.

Worth Checking out.
Posted: 2 years ago at Jul 28 21:49
Great list!
Posted: 2 years ago at Jul 29 11:47
Yes, great work, what a great actor.
Posted: 2 years ago at Aug 5 16:34
Highly recommend The Firm (1989) if you haven`t seen it. This is the football hooligan tv/film starring Gary Oldman (who is excellent in it) not the Tom Cruise movie of the same name.
Posted: 2 years ago at Aug 5 18:08
Excellent list! I completely agree!
Posted: 2 years ago at Aug 5 19:44
He's just an awesome actor!
Posted: 2 years ago at Aug 5 22:01
omg that a vote from me but you for got lost in space Gary Oldman was in that too
Posted: 1 year, 7 months ago at Jan 16 2:10
Such an amazing actor, in any part!
Posted: 11 months ago at Sep 21 23:41
I thought his Commissioner Gordon role in the Batman series was especially good!
Posted: 10 months, 1 week ago at Oct 15 13:20
first of all, beautiful list!
They would give him an oscar when he is really old and couldn't even hold the oscar statuette. Life time achievement oscar.
But we know he deserves one right now! He is a living legend. A true living paragon!
Posted: 6 months, 3 weeks ago at Feb 1 21:03
If anyone in the history of cinema deserved an Oscar or any other noteworthy award it's Oldman. The man is flat-out amazing and pours himself into every role. People can rave over certain other actors who performed notably in their younger years; yet those same actors have been phoning in their performances in later years. I can't see Oldman ever doing that!

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