“We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be,” says Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a new trailer for the upcoming biopic “Darkest Hour.” The new film from Focus Features is one of the most anticipated of the fall awards season. It has all the ingredients for an Oscar movie: a heroic real-life figure, a transformative lead performance, a World War II setting, an Oscar-proven director (“Atonement” filmmaker Joe Wright), and a strategic release date (November 22). Does it look like a winner to you? Watch the trailer above.
The film is set at the beginning of Churchill’s tenure as British prime minister, when he must decide between a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany or war. Oldman is virtually unrecognizable in the role, and it could be the veteran actor’s ticket to his second Best Actor nomination (following “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” 2011) and his first win. Of course Oscar voters love biographical roles, as six of the last 10 Best Actor champs have played real people, including Colin Firth, who won as another British leader during World War II: King George VI in “The King’s Speech.”
Oldman is far from the first actor to fill Churchill’s shoes. In fact, he’ll be the fourth in the space of just two years, following Michael Gambon in the telefilm “Churchill’s Secret” (2016), John Lithgow in the Netflix series “The Crown” (2016), and Brian Cox in the feature film “Churchill” (2017). Oldman will hope to eclipse them all on his way to the Oscars stage.
How do you think Oldman will compare to past actors who have played Winston Churchill? Check out our gallery below of Churchills through the years.