Biography: Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman has been a legendary presence on the screen for more than 25 years and is known to millions worldwide for his embodiment of some of cinema’s most iconic characters.
In addition to Commissioner Jim Gordon, he has portrayed such wide-ranging and unforgettable roles as Harry Potter’s beloved godfather, Sirius Black; Dracula; Beethoven; Lee Harvey Oswald; Sid Vicious; and John le Carré’s ultimate spy, George Smiley, in an Oscar®-nominated performance.
Oldman is one of the highest-grossing actors at the global box office, having appeared in a number of the most successful films of all time, including the top-grossing Harry Potter franchise. He originated the part of Sirius Black in 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and reprised his role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the record breaking finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
He first played Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 hit Batman Begins. Oldman returned to the role of Batman’s crime-fighting ally in 2008’s billion dollar blockbuster The Dark Knight.
In 2011, Oldman portrayed master spy George Smiley in the film version of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In addition to an Oscar® nomination, Oldman’s performance was recognized with a BAFTA Award nomination, a British Independent Film Award nomination, and an Empire Award, all for Best Actor.
He has repeatedly been honored for his work on the screen, including the 2011 Empire Icon Award, bestowed for a lifetime of outstanding achievements; the Gotham Awards’ Career Tribute Award; and the International Star of the Year Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
Oldman began his acting career on the stage in 1979, and for the next few years he worked exclusively in the theatre. From 1985 through 1989, he performed at London’s Royal Court. His earliest onscreen work includes the BBC films Meantime, for director Mike Leigh, and The Firm, directed by the late Alan Clarke.
He followed with such features as Sid & Nancy; Prick Up Your Ears, directed by Stephen Frears; Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead; State of Grace; JFK, for director Oliver Stone; and the title role in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Among Oldman’s many other credits are True Romance, directed by Tony Scott; Romeo is Bleeding; the Luc Besson-directed films The Professional and The Fifth Element; Immortal Beloved; Murder in the First; The Scarlett Letter, directed by Roland Joffé; Lost in Space; Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One, as the terrorist who hijacked the plane of the President, played by Harrison Ford; and The Book of Eli.
In 1995, with manager/producing partner Douglas Urbanski, he formed a production company, which subsequently produced the highly acclaimed Nil by Mouth, marking Oldman’s directing and writing debut. The film was selected to open the main competition for the 1997 50th Anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, where Kathy Burke won Best Actress and Oldman was nominated for a Palme d’Or. Among the film’s other honors, Oldman won the prestigious Channel 4 Director’s Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival; an Empire Award; a BAFTA Award, shared with Urbanski, for Best Film; and a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.
In 2000, Oldman starred in the political drama The Contender, which he and Urbanski also produced. The film, which also starred Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater and Sam Elliott, received a number of award recognitions, including two Oscar® nominations.