Peter Capaldi, the newly named star of “Doctor Who,” is the first of the 12 actors to play this iconic part to have won an Oscar. However, the actor did not take home this award in 1994 for a performance; rather it came for helming “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life,” which tied “Trevor” for Best Live Action Short. (Watch this 22-minute comic gem below.)
The comic film, which Capaldi also wrote, looks at the life of Kafka as he is about to begin writing “The Metamorphosis.” He gets continually interrupted by increasingly silly distractions, which may be figments of his imagination.
Richard E. Grant (“Withnail and I”), who played Kafka, was Dr. Simeon in “The Snowmen,” a chilling episode of the most recent season of “Doctor Who.” And Crispin Letts, who portrayed Kafka’s main character, Gregor Samsa, is the son of Barry Letts who produced “Doctor Who” for five years beginning in 1969.
Capaldi’s selection as the twelfth Doctor on Saturday put an end to months of speculation about who would take over the role from its current portrayer, Matt Smith. Smith confirmed in June that he intended to leave the BBC program at the end of the year.
Prior to taking on this iconic role, Capaldi was best-known for playing political PR wiz Malcolm Tucker in the satirical series “The Thick of It.” He won a BAFTA in 2010 and reprised the role that year in the film “In the Loop,” which reaped an Oscar bid for series creator Armando Iannucci. That talented scribe contends at this year’s Emmys for his HBO laffer “Veep.” Capaldi will be seen later this year as the editor of The Guardian in “The Fifth Estate,” Bill Condon‘s timely film about the Wikileaks.
Capaldi is not the first Doctor to take home a major kudo. In June, David Tennant (Doctor # 10) became the first portrayer of part to win an American show business award with his Daytime Emmy win for Performer in an Animated Program for voicing the droid Huyang on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Capaldi had appeared as the Roman merchant Caecilius opposite Tennant as the Doctor in the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii.”
And Capaldi is not the only actor to win an Oscar for a short film. Comedian Steven Wright won (with Dean Parisot) in 1988 for “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.” And in 1995, Christine Lahti, best known for “Chicago Hope” and being in the bathroom when she won a Golden Globe, won the prize for “Lieberman in Love,” along with Jana Sue Memel. Among those they edged out were two other actors: Griffin Dunne (“Duke of Groove”) and Jeff Goldblum (“Little Surprises”).