Gary Oldman is one of the most versatile actors today, though he’s known best for villainous roles where he chews the scenery like so many Baked Pringles. My favorite Oldman line ever:

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Which makes his performance in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” that much more remarkable.  And not only has he created a powerful George Smiley out of nothing more than quiet looks, he’s made the role his own – another remarkable accomplishment given Alec Guinness’ icon portrayal of the inscrutable English spy in the much-loved TV mini-series of the late ’80′s (if you haven’t seen it – buy it here right now!).

I’m pleased that I’m going to be a small part of a six-film Oldman retrospective at the Arclight in Hollywood.  Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis for the screenings…though I’m holding five pairs of reserved seats for my Q&A with Oldman after an 8:00PM screening of “Tinker, Tailor” on January 11th.  To win, just leave a comment about your favorite Gary Oldman character and your e-mail address.  I’ll pick my favorite five responses.

The other films being screened in the series are “Sid and Nancy” (1986), which starred Mr. Oldman as punk-rock legend Sid Vicious, on Monday, January 9th at 6:30 PM; JFK (1991), in which Mr. Oldman played the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald, on Monday, January 9th at 9:00 PM; “The Contender” (2000), with Mr. Oldman as U.S. Congressman Shelly Runyon, on Tuesday, January 10th at 6:00 PM; “Dracula” (1992), starring Mr. Oldman as the title character, on Tuesday, January 10th at 9:00 PM; and “Prick Up Your Ears” (1987), with Mr. Oldman as celebrated playwright Joe Orton, on Wednesday, January 11th at 5:30 PM.

For more info and reservations, check out  See you there!

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  • Josie Garcia

    Lt. Gordon in The Dark Knight

  • R_B

    Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element. I know he's an amazing actor and this isn't the best movie to showcase how fantastic he is, but this movie is such a guilty pleasure for me and it was one of the first movies I noticed where he can be a funny guy too.

    • R_B

      Aw I just realized I didn't leave my email address in my response. It's

    • mholzman

      Congrats! You're winner #4. Please e-mail your name to me at and I'll send details about the screening and Q&A on the 11th. See you there!

  • jonathan boxer

    i was expecting to be disappointed by Mr. Oldman performance of the Smiley character in comparison to that done by Alex Gunnnes in the BC series, but he nailed it, even down to the small manerisms.

  • Thomas

    My favorite is Norman Stansfield because he truly represents everything a villian should be and more. He ruthlessly murders an entire family just because a portion of his profits are affected. Theres no way to know what hes up to next and Oldman’s ability to switch from murderous psychopath to charming helpful police officer is extremely unnerving. Not to mention that anyone who can seriously compare their murders to beautiful works such as Bethoven is just creepy. Plus who doesnt love his “I take no pleasure in taking life if its from a person who doesn’t care about it.” line which is oddly poetic.

    • mholzman

      Congrats! You're winner #1. Please e-mail your name to me at and I'll send details about the screening at Q&A on the 11th. See you there!

    • mholzman

      That would be "screening and Q&A."

  • Samantha Cichella

    I loved Oldman in the Contender as Shelly Runyon. Oldman plays such a great variety of characters. Some are subtle while others are more vibrant, but he always delivers a great performance. In the Contender he blended in completely and did such a good job of showing aspects of human nature that we don’t always admit to. I loved it.

  • Felicia

    Hands down Norman Stansfield from Leon:The Professional. The scene where he sniffs Mathilda’s father to see if he’s telling the truth creeps me out every single time I see it!

    • mholzman

      Congrats! You're winner #2. Please e-mail your name to me at and I'll send details about the screening and Q&A on the 11th. See you there!

  • John Chamberlain

    It's nearly impossible to pick one Oldman performance, but I'd have to go for his portrayal of Joe Orton in 'Prick up your Ears' ; he's absolutely electrifying and brings every bit of Orton's unpredictability, vibrancy and mischievousness to the screen.
    Playing a real life persona can often drift into impersonation, but Oldman brings something fresh and new always, but especially in the case of Orton; a wonderful all round performance that delivers something new with every repeat viewing.

    • mholzman

      Congrats! You're winner #5. Please e-mail your name to me at and I'll send details about the screening and Q&A on the 11th. See you there!

  • Samantha Cichella

    I didn’t leave my email either.

  • Susan S.

    Mr. Oldman’s talent is extraordinary. His attention to detail is incredible, and creates performances that appear completely natural and effortless. Eyes, appearance, accent, voice, mannerisms, posture, gait, energy; all combine to create characters that are memorable and uniquely his, whether in a comedy or drama. One of my favorite characters is Jackie in State of Grace. In the scene where Frankie hugs Jackie for the first time in years, so much is revealed on Jackie's face. It breaks your heart and makes it sing at the same time. His ability to elicit such feeling in the viewer for such a character, in a few brief moments,is what makes him the best.

  • Joe Hartnett

    Dracula – Oldman creates a freak dimension 'Liberace' monster oozing utterly alarming glee in stalking the wooden Reeves 'dude.'

    • mholzman

      Congrats! You're winner #3. Please e-mail your name to me at and I'll send details about the screening and Q&A on the 11th. See you there!

  • G G

    Gary Oldman never bores. He is gloriously talented in every way, especially when he portrays characters who display extremes in all feelings. He's the classic artist who triumphs over reality, but is true to truth.

  • Mayra Martinez

    I’ve seen Mr. Oldman in a variety of roles but none stands out as much as his portrayal of the unnervingly sinister Stansfield. In a film like The Professional where violence reigns, Oldman excels as a villain. The passion he conveys is truly captivating. He is so mad, frantic and theatrical in his delivery that you can’t help but be captivated by him. Mr. Oldman has always been held to a high standard in my book, and he has yet to ever let me down. He is a true performer. His portrayal of Stansfield was likely the role that first made me keenly aware of this.

  • chloe louis

    Smoldering intelligence always wins in the end…..Gary Oldman knocked me down in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I don't go out to a movie very often….I feel like I really got my money's worth and had an exciting New Year's Eve, as well. There's nothing like a great performance–it takes you away to another land–its like a vacation in your mind.

    Plainly–thank you Gary Oldman for just doing a good job–for your effort–I appreciate it–I had a real good time. You entertained me…what a gift!

    How would I describe the performance of Gary Oldman, his character of George Smiley, to someone who could not see the film. Someone like me, who really wanted to see it but just was not able to finally convince their friend to go in the end.

    I would say immediately when you see the character of Gary Oldman, his intelligence is apparent–right away I had the idea he would win in the end. Not only his intelligence but the obvious ability to figure things out–to solve the problem. Gary Oldman wastes no time in letting the viewer know he is very confident of his puzzle solving capabilities. Its almost as if the others are left to eventually reveal themselves, floundering around while he patiently waits for the mole to show himself in this story of the highest level of British espionage set in 1970's London. I thought his character of George Smiley was very sexy, very confident, very appealing. Gary Oldman leads the viewer by the hand leading the way through the cerebral maze. Beckoning one along with his unshakable quiet and his steely gaze

    If I could ask Gary Oldman a question it would be this–How do you convey the message of intelligence and confidence, not just throughout the film, but immediately. What acting skills are required to impart this message to the audience? The steady, unwavering "figuring things out" talent, to me, was evident in Gary Oldman's first scene. How did you give this message with so few words? That is what I would like to know.

    Thank you for your time,