By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
All the accolades being showered on director Joe Wright’s riveting World War II drama, “Darkest Hour”
are deserving largely because of Gary Oldman’s
transformative and stirring performance as Winston Churchill.
Oldman has already received a “Best Actor” nod from the Critics’ Choice Awards and the “Darkest Hour” was also nominated for “Best Picture” by the CCA’s as well as the Golden Globes.
Oldman’s resume includes a variety of diverse films from “Dracula,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “JFK,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and 2011’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” among others.” The latter movie earned Oldman an Oscar nomination.
With his star turn in “Darkest Hour,” that elusive Oscar could be well within Oldman’s reach.
“Darkest Hour” chronicles Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister and the behind the scenes maneuverings Churchill employs leading up to “Operation Dynamo,” the battle of Dunkirk.
Oldman takes this performance beyond mimicry. Yes, he has the look down pat. And major kudos/awards should go to all the makeup artists. Oldman even sounds like Churchill.
But, what makes this performance soar above others who have portrayed the character, is Oldman turns what could have been a drab and by the numbers period piece, into a mesmerizing drama by nailing Churchill’s mannerisms and idiosyncrasies.
Director Joe Wright deserves plenty of credit too for the movie’s fine supporting cast that includes: Kristin Scott Thomas (“The English Patient”) as Churchill’s wife Clementine. Lily James (“Baby Driver”) who stars as secretary Elizabeth Layton; Ronald Pickup (TV’s “The Rebel”) as Neville Chamberlain; and Ben Mendelsohn (TV’s “Bloodline”) as the stuttering King George VI. Colin Firth won the Oscar for his portrayal of him in “The King’s Speech.”
But it’s Oldman’s commanding presence that lights up the screen in "Darkest Hour" and that captivates from beginning to end.
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Check Out This Trailer For "DARKEST HOUR"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.