Michael Gambon, Brian Cox, John Lithgow – we’ve seen different players take the role of Winston Churchill in the last few years. Could Gary Oldman in the role of land him an Academy Award?
The evening of September 11, as the credits rolled in time of war, the drama of its darkest Hours, the public of Toronto, Roy Thomson Hall, rose to their feet to applaud Gary Oldman and the film’s cast and crew.
The Toronto International Film Festival is proud of the collection of potential awards winners. And in the days following the screening was Oldman astonishing Churchill who dominated the conversation after conversation – with many declaring him the clear frontrunner for the Oscar as best actor.
A couple of months later, Gary Oldman, sitting in a London hotel, it remains among the favorites, but is understandably reluctant to talk about his academy Award chances, instead offering: “I feel very lucky, very privileged to have been offered, and have actually played.
“So I think that I got out of it what I wanted to achieve. Anything else beyond that is icing on the cake.”
When pressed, he acknowledges: “If I had an Oscar that he said about it-Gary Oldman, best actor for darkest Hour, if I was going to get an Oscar, I can’t think of a better part to get to, let’s put it this way.”
It is easy to see why it is thought that Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill will resonate with awards voters. Has expired time the correct Oscar recognition (is always and only received a nomination for the 2011 spy drama ” Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy).
His Churchill is the type of full-throat performance that audiences and critics love. And his transformation from a quiet espresso actor in Britain war cry of the leader is really quite remarkable.
“I knew I didn’t like him, I thought that with some work I was able to approximate the voice,” Oldman confesses. “The challenge, in part, the physicality, because you are playing someone that the silhouette is so iconic.
“So I went to the news, and what I discovered was a man who had this very athletic tread. He would skip around 65 years old as 30 years, had a spark, the eyes were alive, had a sort of cherubim smile.
“You know what I think of this type of rather depressed irritable man with a cigar, and from movies and from what I was reading, I found out who was alive and dynamic. And that’s what I hoped to be able to really bring to it, and give it a little twinkle in his eye.”
Churchill is, of course, one of British history’s best known figures, his speeches are famous in italy and abroad. The public to familiarize themselves with the real life, the human being could be problematic for any actor playing the part.
“I think that there comes a point in which the creation, rather, the representation, trying to get the spirit of the essence of man,” says Oldman.
A further complication is that the Churchill has been played many, many times on TV and in the movies by a succession of distinguished actors.
“Not only have you had this type of beloved British, this iconic figure that is probably the biggest British who ever lived,” says Oldman, “but you’ve also got the gallery of other people.
“So you’ve got this image of Churchill, but is contaminated or in some way influenced by Albert Finney as Churchill or Robert Hardy as Churchill?”
Participants and the public in the United States, where the film is released this week seem more than certain that this interpretation of Churchill is at 100%, pristine Oldman. And critics expect his performance and the film to be prominent players at the awards ceremonies in the course of the next few months.
The darkest hour opens in the UK on Friday 12 January 2018.