6 reasons why Gary Oldman is guaranteed the Oscar for Best Actor
If there's anyone who deserves an Oscar statue in the parlor of their home, it's the actor who can convincingly portray Sid Vicious at a young age, and then Winston Churchill later on in life. But alas, Gary Oldman, while beloved and immensely talented, has never received that award...which I and many others only learned this year, after doing more research about the actor following his recent nomination for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Surprisingly, this is only his second Oscar nomination, following the one for his role in 2012's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But after big wins for the performance at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, I wouldn't be surprised if the second Oscar try was the charm. And I know what you're thinking: Many times there are major differences between what gets nominated/wins at the Golden Globes vs what gets nominated/wins at the Oscars. But I have good reasons to believe that Oldman will take home the gold this year.
The 2018 Academy Award nominees for Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
1. Timothée Chalamet is not always first billed for Call Me by Your Name
While this was a very big year for the young and talented Timothée Chalamet, starring in Oscar nominated flicks Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name and being nominated for Best Actor for the latter, I don't think this is the flick he will win the golden statue for. The unfortunate thing for him is that while he is definitely the main character of Call Me By Your Name, (which I recently saw and will be doing a review on soon) he always has to share the spotlight in advertisements and promotions for the film with Armie Hammer, who at this point has a bigger name in Hollywood. In fact, Armie Hammer is considered to be the top billed actor by many people's standards. And while I think Chalamet did an outstanding job in the film, I believe to win the Oscar for Lead Actor, you have to undoubtedly have the lead role. But I do believe Chalamet's time will come.
2. Phantom Thread was not Daniel Day Lewis' best
As I discussed in my recent review of Phantom Thread, this was not Daniel Day Lewis' strongest performance. Far from it in fact. And while he didn't do a bad job, it wan't a compelling role and it didn't seem like an interesting challenge for him.
The character of Winston Churchill however for Oldman looked like a major passion project, something that was clearly challenging and enjoyable for him, and was arguably his best work yet. And while there are always great actors and actresses nominated each year, it's the dedication to the craft and ability to convey your passions to the audience that many times win the actor or actress their glory...well, at least that's how it should be.
3. Daniel Kaluuya's character in Get Out is written as a blank slate
While I definitely enjoyed Get Out, and truly appreciated Kaluuya's performance as our main character Chris, as I discussed in a prior article, I don't feel like I ended up learning much about Chris as the movie went along. But in this case it was ok. Chris' background and interests were kept very vague and his personality was one of a calm observant person, allowing the audience to put ourselves in his shoes. Whether you've been affected by toxic race relations, are shy, or have felt like a fish out of water, you'll be able to put yourself into Chris' position. He's expressive and engaging enough for you to do that. Sadly that kind of character usually doesn't have enough depth written for them to win an Oscar, but I am excited to see what Kaluuya does in the future.
4. Roman J. Israel, Esq tanked at the box office and with the critics
With a less than stellar rating of 6.3/10 on IMDB, an audience score of 59/100 and critic score of 49/100 on Rotten Tomatoes, a 1/4 stars on RogerEbert.com and box office earnings of $10 million less than the cost of production, things are not looking too good for Roman J. Israel, Esq or Denzel Washington nominated for his role as the titular character.
With all of the scathing reviews this movie has endured, as well as the fact that Washington doesn't make nearly as much of a physical and vocal transformation for the role as Oldman does in Darkest Hour, I think it's very unlikely that Washington will be adding a third Oscar to his mantel. At least this year.
5. It's right up the Academy's alley
While Hollywood is evolving and becoming more open to new ideas and talent, it's still true that 94% of the Academy are white and 76% male with an average age of 63. That says a lot about why certain movies are nominated and why certain roles win. If you start looking at things through the eyes of a middle-aged white male in Hollywood, you'll be able to better predict Oscar outcomes. While I wish that the Academy and their interests were more diverse, this is the reality of who chooses who takes home the golden statue, and I'll have to make my predictions based on that.
The Academy is of course known for liking period pieces, strong portrayals of political figures and...World War II. So of course they're going to love and relate to the story of Darkest Hour and understand how to judge a Winston Churchill performance more than the other films and roles. But still, this knowledge we have of the Academy should not trump my 6th point.
6. It was a wonderful performance and the perfect movie to showcase it
This ladies and gentlemen, was probably one of the best impersonations and embodiments of a real life person, I've ever seen in my whole life. And setting aside the other performances and everything we know about the Oscars, this is so deserving of the praise it's received, and on its own is extremely Oscar-worthy. Oldman puts on the performance of a lifetime as he completely shape-shifts into the infamous former United Kingdom Prime Minister. With the help of some wonderfully done prosthetics (can we get a Hair and Make-up Oscar up in here please?) Oldman is a completely convincing as Churchill.
Not only is his acting stellar, but the movie does everything in its power to highlight this performance. Set in a short period of time and on a very narrow topic/event, this film - while it's not the most exciting thing I've ever seen - really understands how to frame and get the most out of a performance. It makes it clear the whole way through that Oldman is the shining star, it delves deeply into the character's mindset, allowing you to know Churchill better through this movie, it did well at the box office allowing a larger audience for his performance, it has all the elements of a performance the Academy wants, and most importantly, it perfectly showcases Oldman's talents. And it's that nature of the film itself that is the cherry on top of why I believe this performance will win Gary Oldman Oscar gold at this year's Academy Awards. Mark my words.
What do you think? Is Gary Oldman a shoo-in for this year's Best Actor award? Let me know by leaving a comment below or on my Facebook page. And be sure to give me a like or subscribe to my newsletter below for more content!