Gary Oldman's 10 Greatest Movie Performances - Ranked

9. Darkest Hour - Winston Churchill

Gary Oldman Leon
Focus Features

Remarkably, Darkest Hour was only Gary Oldman’s second nomination for an Academy Award, and, sensing their folly, the Academy committee chose to give Oldman the prize for his measured turn as Winston Churchill. While one could argue that this was more an award for his cumulative body of work, few would disagree that he’s an actor well worthy of such recognition.

Darkest Hour is not one of the absolute best films of Oldman’s career, but as a chance to strut his stuff and show off the full range of his thespian chops, he’s had few better platforms. He transforms into the former Prime Minister with heavy makeup, but his physical work is superb, too - his stooped form conveying the weight of responsibility on Churchill's shoulders.

It’s undeniable Oscar bait, but Oldman’s performance singlehandedly elevates Darkest Hour beyond jingoistic TV drama status.

It’s unsubtle and not at all balanced when depicting the complex figure of Winston Churchill, but as a showcase for one of the nation’s finest screen talents, it does its job admirably. Oldman takes a broad approach that works perfectly, and netted him some well deserved trophies.


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