Gary Oldman is one of the ugliest actors ever. It’s been a while since we talked about ugly acting, so lets start with what I mean when I say he’s ugly. Cuz I ain’t talking about looks. I’m talking about phenomenal acting which I define as ugly acting. The better the actor, the uglier they become.
Why? Because the ugliest actor isn’t paying attention to looking beautiful on camera, they’re focused on the character and living believably. Even when it means they have to do some really ugly things.
Gary Oldman is definitely one of the ugliest.
Not only is he living every actor’s dream of a consistent and successful career, but he’s also avoided being typecast like a pro. He’s a true chameleon.
Personally, I think this man is one of the most underrated actors out there. In Jimmy Kimmel’s funny parody The Kimmel School Of Perfect Acting, he literally performed his way out of a paper bag and it was amazing.
Still we tend to forget he’s the same actor who played Commissioner Gordon in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Dracula in Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The man defines versatility. Especially with his newest award-winning film, Darkest Hours, where he just won his first Oscar for Best Actor In A Leading Role for his portrayal of Winston Churchill.
It’s incredible to learn he’s only ever been nominated one other time for an Oscar and that was for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. When looking at the list of roles he’s been nominated for in general it’s shocking to see how few there are. But perhaps the reason for this is because he is such a phenomenal ugly actor.
We’ve seen him in such a variety of roles Oldman tends to disappear and all we remember is the amazing characters he’s created.
If I were to crown a king and queen of ugly actors, Gary would most definitely be the king. So what makes him such an incredible ugly actor? How does he approach acting to give us such a variety of performances? I went digging and here are a few qualities which I think set Gary Oldman apart and definitely crown him as king of ugly acting.
CURIOSITY, PASSION, & TEACHABILITY
When interviewed about his role as Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s JFK Oldman says this:
“It was the most thrilling experience watching myself for the first time […] because I couldn’t believe I was in it – Oliver Stone at the very height of his powers, the sheer energy of it all, his commitment. When I saw the finished product I had to pinch myself. I thought, Wow, I’m in this movie. This is terrific.”
When you are handed an amazing role and then praised for your performance, it can be incredibly difficult to continue to be you without all the pride that comes with fame. But somehow Oldman has remained down-to-earth.
One way he’s done this is by being teachable and curious.
In a 2017 interview – Actors on Actors, Gary Oldman can be found leaning forward asking Kate Winslet about her process as an actor. What amazed me the most about this was how hungry he was to learn about how she approached a specific scene where she plays drunk.
It wasn’t just a question to showcase her talent, but he was genuinely interested in how she was able to do it without going overboard. At no point does he sit back to listen, but instead he’s on the edge of his chair, one hundred percent engaged and focused on learning what he can from her. It comes from a place of curiosity and passion which he’s kept alive.
In turn I think these aspects have kept his ugly acting alive and well. He’s constantly learning, growing and exploring how to keep his craft well oiled. We could learn something from him in this.
Alright ugly aspiring actors, think you can incorporate some of this into your acting?