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Gary Oldman Has Been Voted The Best Actor To Never Win An Oscar

James Dawson

| Last updated 

Gary Oldman Has Been Voted The Best Actor To Never Win An Oscar

When you think of British actors in Hollywood, you won't find many better than Gary Oldman, a man recently recognised by Ranker as the best actor to never win an Academy Award.

But what about his life? Well, growing up in south London, as a teenager he studied with the Young People's Theatre in Greenwich while he worked jobs on assembly lines, as a porter in an operating theatre, selling shoes and beheading pigs in an abattoir.

He has been a fixture on the acting scene since he broke through on stage with roles in the late 70s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Here he is discussing his career on the Graham Norton Show...


Credit: BBC / Graham Norton Show

It was in 1983 that he gained his first starring film role as the skinhead Coxy in Mike Leigh's gritty comedy-drama Meantime, and since then he has become known for his trademark 'big' acting style and the diversity of roles he is capable of playing.

One of his most iconic roles came in 1986 when he played punk rock icon and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in British biopic Sid and Nancy.


The role meant Oldman losing 45 pounds to play the character, with Uncut magazine describing his his portrayal of Sid Vicious as a "hugely sympathetic reading of the punk figurehead as a lost and bewildered manchild."

The film has now become a cult classic, although Oldman is apparently not a fan of the movie, claiming 'not to remember doing' Sid and Nancy, having 'wiped it from his hard drive'.

Credit: Palace Pictures


Moving into the 90s he played Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK and starred as Drexl Spivey, the antagonist of the Quentin Tarantino penned film True Romance.

Arguably his best on-screen performance came alongside Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in 1994 film Léon: The Professional, which saw him play police chief and brutal antagonist Norman Stansfield.

Here he is delivering one of his most famous lines in the film...


Credit: Buena Vista International

Perhaps his most recognisable roles for younger audiences are his portrayals of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise and Lieutenant James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

But despite starring in motion pictures which have grossed over $10.6 billion (£7.9bn), for many years Oldham was known as one of the biggest Hollywood actors to have never received an Oscar nomination.

In fact, Leigh Singer of the Guardian called him 'arguably the best actor never Oscar-nominated' - at least, until his long-awaited first nomination, for playing the lead role in Tomas Alfredson's 2011 espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.


Credit: Warner Bros.

He is still yet to win an Academy Award, although it doesn't sound like he'd be too fussed on getting one anyway.

Back in 2014 he said: "I know it certainly doesn't mean anything to win a Golden Globe, that's for sure. It's a meaningless event. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is kidding you that something's happening. They're fucking ridiculous.

"There's nothing going on at all. It's 90 nobodies having a wank. Everybody's getting drunk, and everybody's sucking up to everybody. Boycott the fucking thing. Just say we're not going to play this silly game with you anymore.

"The Oscars are different. But it's showbiz. It's all showbiz. That makes me sound like I've got sour grapes or something, doesn't it?"

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Academy Award

James Dawson
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