Oscar 2021: Spotlight on Best Actor Nominee Gary Oldman for 'Mank'

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CHICAGO – The great Gary Oldman is a veteran actor who has created so many memorable roles that he’s his own Hall of Fame. His surprising turn as Herman Mankiewicz, the co-screenwriter with Orson Welles on “Citizen Kane” in “Mank,” is being honored by yet another Best Actor nomination in 2021 (his third with one win). 

“Mank” follows Herman through the decade of the 1930s, when he hung out with William Randolph Hearst, the inspiration for Charles Foster Kane. His journey with Hearst and his crew, including the mogul’s mistress and notable actress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried, also a nominee), was the information gathering point for his contributions to the Kane script, whose main authorship is debated to this day. It’s a grand opera performance, with Mank being both a comic and tragic figure.

2021 Oscar Nominee Gary Oldman in the Spotlight for ‘Mank’
Photo credit: Netflix

Gary Oldman was born in London, studied acting with the Young People’s Theatre and made his professional stage debut in 1979. After collecting favorable notices on the British stage – he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company – Oldman made his film debut in “Remembrance” in 1982. Shortly thereafter, he made his name in films with “Sid and Nancy” (1986) and “Prick Up Your Ears” (1987) … roles so notorious he picked up the nickname “Scary Gary.” Hollywood beckoned thereafter, and Oldman had a high profile role as Lee Harvey Oswald in “JFK” (1991) and portrayed a strange pimp in “True Romance” (1993).

Oldman did mainstream films (“Air Force One” and “Lost in Space”), gained a reputation for portraying villains and even appeared in a two part episode of the TV series “Friends.” After a short slump in the early 2000s, he came back strong as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter film series and as Commissioner Jim Gordon in the Dark Knight Batman trilogy. Recent films include roles in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011), Robocop (2014), his Oscar-winning role as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (2017) and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2018).

In a beautiful Podtalk with Patrick McDonald from 2018, Gary Oldman talks about two famous roles and his philosophy of acting, plus what he wants on his “tombstone.”

In the complete interview, Gary Oldman also talks about creating Winston Churchill in this Best Actor winning role in “Darkest Hour.” (CLICK HERE)

The 93rd Academy Awards is on Sunday, April 25th at 8pmET/7pmCT on ABC-TV, and will take place at the Los Angeles Dolby Theatre and Union Station.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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