An ordinary, typical person would say that Leonardo Di Caprio is an underrated actor who has never won an Oscar. I think Gary Oldman is the underrated actor here.
You’re probably thinking, “Who is this guy?”
He is the villain in your favorite movies. Remember when you watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula?
Still don’t recognize him? He was Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies!
He was also this weird but kick-ass villain in The Fifth Element.
Gary Oldman has been one of the greatest actors with only a single Academy Award nomination. One of his co-stars, Tom Hardy, has remarked: “Gary Oldman is, hands down, the greatest actor that’s ever lived.”
Personally, my favorite role of his is when he played bassist Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy. It was one of his early roles. For the role, Oldman had to lose weight in order to look like Vicious by eating nothing but “steamed fish and lots of melon”, but was briefly hospitalized when he lost too much weight. Nevertheless, that did not change his performance in the movie. Oldman’s portrayal of Vicious was ranked #62 in Premiere magazine’s “100 Greatest Performances of All Time”.
Sid Vicious is the one on the left, Gary Oldman on the right.
With his notable ability of expertise with accents and formidable acting skills, Gary Oldman was able to play a broad range of characters including Ludwig van Beethoven and Lee Harvey Oswald.
But how did all this happen?
Gary Oldman was born on March 21, 1958 in London, England to Kathleen Cheriton and Leonard Bertram Oldman. His father was a sailor-turned-welder, who left the family when the future actor was only seven years old. As a child, Oldman also played piano and sang, and had dreams to become a musician — but all that changed in 1971 when he saw Malcolm McDowell’s performance in “The Raging Moon”. As Oldman told Charlie Rose in a 1995 interview, “Something about Malcolm just arrested me, and I connected, and I said, ‘I wanna do that.'”
Oldman began studying at the Young People’s Theatre in Greenwich. Later, he won a scholarship to Rose Buford College in Kent. He graduated in 1979 with a BA in Acting. Before enrolling at Rose Buford, however, the actor was turned down by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. They even advised him to choose a different profession! While at Rose Buford, he appeared in a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Oldman played the mischievous spirit Puck.
When not honing his craft as an actor, he worked several jobs on the side. Besides selling shoes and working as a porter in an operating theatre, Oldman also beheaded pigs in a slaughterhouse. Considering some of his crazier roles, the gory and unusual job seems oddly fitting.
In 1982, Oldman made his film debut in “Rememberance”.
Despite his many critically-acclaimed roles, Oldman has only received one Oscar nomination. He was nominated for Best Actor for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011).
With a fine career and a bright future, he has also considered a career in music, but never pursued it. Oldman sang a duet with David Bowie on the track “You’ve Been Around.” The song was featured on the 1995 album “The Sacred Squall of Now,” by Reeves Gabrels, Bowie’s longtime guitarist. He has also made an appearance in David Bowie’s music video “The Next Day” as a priest.
Honorable mention: Gary Oldman’s transformation for Hannibal is simply stunning. It looks so real.
Always notice when you spot great talent.
Wanting to be a good actor is not good enough. You must want to be a great actor. You just have to have that.
– Gary Oldman