Mid-Week Poll: Favorite Gary Oldman Performance

Since Gary Oldman walked away with the most love in this past Friday’s Roundtable about favorite character actors, let’s follow through on this train of thought. Which movie has your favorite Gary Oldman performance?

According to IMDb, Oldman has nearly 70 acting credits on his resumé so far. It would be impractical to list them all in this poll. As a result, I’m going to try to narrow the list down to some of his most famous performances. Feel free to vote “Other” if I skipped over one that you think deserves some attention.

In his career, Gary Oldman has played both endearing heroes (like Jim Gordon in the ‘Batman’ movies or Sirius Black in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise) and villains. He really seems to revel in the latter roles, which often give him his juiciest material. Oldman’s eccentric performances can even liven up bad movies like ‘Lost in Space’ or ‘Hannibal’.

There isn’t really a wrong answer here (except maybe ‘Air Force One’ – that movie is terrible, and Oldman’s Russian accent is laughably bad). I have a hard time voting against his evil bloodsucker in ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ or his loony trillionaire industrialist mercenary in ‘The Fifth Element’. But if I really have to choose just one favorite, I must go with his sleazeball dirty cop in ‘Léon: The Professional’. What great hammy fun he has with that role.

What’s your favorite?

Which Is Your Favorite Gary Oldman Performance?

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    • Josh Zyber

      He’s the guy who Lecter tricked into cutting off his own face. He tries to feed Lecter to some giant pigs.

      (Just typing this makes me remember how dumb the movie is. I hadn’t thought about it in quite a while.)

  1. Tough call between, well, all of them, but particularly between Drexl and Zorg. I have to go with Zorg in the end. It always amazes me that these are all the same actor.

  2. Jane Morgan

    ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,’ as it might be the performance that finally gets him an Oscar.

  3. Drew

    How could you forget about The Book of Eli? He’s the glue that (almost) holds that movie together. He might be chewing scenery a bit, and he may be a tad over the top, but he’s superb nonetheless.

  4. ilovenola2

    “Prick Up Your Ears”—- An early triumph for Oldman, brilliant as gay playwright Joe Orton and Alfred Molina as his lover and mentor– who murdered Orton and committed suicide…because he couldn’t deal with Orton’s fame that left him behind. Two of the greatest performances on screen!

  5. BostonMA

    Josh i disagree with you on his performance in Air Force One i found it as phenomenal as his other high profile villainous roles in the 90s but IMO, his best, i.e. MOST TALENTED performance, is that of Drexl in True Romance. flat out, one of the best performances ever in film. it may be extremely lacking in on screen length when compared to the other greatest acting jobs but the amount of talent is right on par with the likes of Brando as Vito Corleone and Daniel-Day Lewis as Daniel Planview.

    but i do like your choice for Leon, that IS his most fun and enjoyable role and probably my pick for the very close #2 spot in Oldman’s canon.

  6. so hard to choose! he’s awesome in everything! Finally, I picked Immortal Beloved. I thought he portrayed the two extreme sides of the character so well.

  7. I can only imagine Romeo is Bleeding is not higher because not many have seen it.
    Hands down my favorite performance of his, the most subtle and nuanced, and one of the rare times he plays it somewhat straight.

    I love that movie and his performance in it is the main reason why. If you haven’t seen it you need to see it now.

  8. ilovenola2

    Gary Oldman has been a favorite of mine since the “Sid and Nancy” and “Prick..Ears” days. In 1993 I was an extra in “JFK” for 9 days. I am a juror– first in front by the prosecution table. Rumor had it that a dream sequence was to be shot with Oswald/Oldman being questioned by Garrison/Costner–with us jurors present. Needless to say, the prospect was most exciting to me, especially after I actually spotted Oldman seated in the courtroom as we left the room after a take. But I never saw him on set again.
    Well- IF the dream sequence were shot, us jurors were not included. I’ve hoped in vain for something in the video extras about it, even the scene if it were indeed shot. Nothing!
    Oldman’s location work was all in Dallas…. nothing in New Orleans. But there he was! In the courtroom, unnoticed by many, watching US work!

    My last extra job in NOLA was in the wretched “Meet the Spartans.” I’m one of the dirty old senators and at least my pic is on the back of the blu-ray with Carmen E. and the Boys! If you haven’t seen it, don’t! (Gag!)
    Please forgive the lengthy post. I hope it was interesting to some.