As a traditional British drama showcasing an actor who has undergone a complete transformation, it is easy to declare The Darkest Hour as a favorite in the awards season pool.
The film shares the trials and tribulations of Winston Churchill’s (played by Academy Award nominee, Gary Oldman) early days as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as the country faces invasion during World War II. With the focal point on the bitter debate between negotiation and battle, the audience gains a deeper knowledge of the climate in the country and its politics, as well as an honest look at this “great man” in history. The Darkest Hour takes the liberty of not glorifying Churchill but concentrating on his imperfections and reservations that made him the leader we admire today.
Gary Oldman’s charismatic performance as Churchill is the glue that keeps this movie together. Many actors have had the opportunity to walk in Churchill’s shoes however, none really do it like Oldman. He does not only transform physically (I assure you, the makeup and costuming department will be nominated when it comes time for Oscar nominations because Oldman is unrecognizable) but by capturing Churchill’s unique mannerisms, compassion and wry wit. Every speech is meticulously and powerfully performed, “mobilizing the English language and sending it to battle” just as Churchill would have.
It is truly a magical experience when an actor loses themselves into a role. This is exactly what Oldman does. He is a powerhouse and without a doubt, a definite frontrunner for Best Actor during this upcoming awards season.
Final Thoughts: The Darkest Hour may be a traditional awards season darling, but it is Gary Oldman’s golden moment – a golden moment that may score him gold.