The world was introduced to Oldman as the self-destructive Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious in 1986's "Sid and Nancy." The actor's portrayal of Vicious was as raw and explosive as Vicious himself and made everyone ask "Who is that guy?" Oldman did more than just duplicate Vicious's passion; he said he felt "obsessed with being really, really, really, skinny" and -- after slipping into those tight leather pants -- even looked like the Sex Pistol.
While this role isn't so crazy, it's pretty shocking to remember this was the role Oldman tackled immediately following "Sid and Nancy." From a heroin-addicted rocker to a struggling, homosexual writer, the actor showed off his range immediately and made it clear he was never going to be typecast.
In 1990's "State of Grace," Oldman plays the hard-drinking, Irish gangster Jackie Flannery, opposite Sean Penn. If that weren't enough, the character is also a psychopathic murderer who, quite simply, has some serious logic problems. Oldman is phenomenal in the role, capturing the despair and guilt of Flannery, while also maintaining his likability (somehow). How did Oldman prepare for the role? He's said "The only research I did was drinking in Irish bars."
One of the most complex -- and ambitious -- roles of his career, Gary Oldman took on Dracula in 1992. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film was more a meditation in art direction and costume, but Oldman's performance shines through. There's something so perfectly wicked about the look of bliss on Dracula's face after he licks the razor clean of blood.
What do you do after you're the lead in a Francis Ford Coppola movie? You take a small role as a racially confused drug dealer... Oldman is practically unrecognizable as Drexl Spivey, the volatile yet funny drug-dealing pimp, and while the actor is only onscreen for a few minutes, he steals the show in the Tarantino-penned "True Romance" (1993). Wondering where James Franco got the inspiration for his character in "Spring Breakers" (2012)? Look no further.
Oldman is practically perfect in one of his craziest roles as the unstable DEA agent Stansfield. This pill-popping, corrupt DEA agent is the genius of writer/director Luc Besson, but it's Oldman who makes him worthy of the movie villain hall of fame. How crazy is Stansfield? He's a (huge) fan of Beethoven and compares his killing sprees to the composer's work.
Just look at him. Oldman takes on the crazy role of a corrupt, futuristic drug dealer in another Luc Besson film -- complete with one very interesting hair piece. The movie itself is pretty out there and visually stunning, and Oldman's Mr. Zorg is no exception.
"Nobody's Baby" is a movie almost nobody saw. With a handlebar mustache, huge wire-framed glasses, and a cowboy hat, this off-beat comedy camouflages Oldman as a trailer-trash criminal. If that wasn't enough, his character and his partner in crime (Skeet Ulrich) take a baby and try to flip it for a buck.
Yes, that person to the left -- the one not named Kate Beckinsale -- is Gary Oldman. The actor is truly a chameleon and few roles prove it more than his turn as Rolfe in the hardly seen "Tiptoes" (2003).
OK, OK, I'll admit even I haven't seen this movie, but we can't overlook Oldman as an aging Elvis impersonator. He even has dice hanging from his rearview mirror. Weirder still, it reunites Christian Slater and Oldman ("True Romance") in a movie that yet again prominently features Elvis.
OK, only the head and the voice belonged to Billy Crudup; the rest of the blue hero's physique belonged to a professional bodybuilder. Still, Crudup provided the movements for the nuclear-powered mutant who tried in vain to seem like one of the gang.
Benedict Cumberbatch provided not only the dragon's scary voice but also his movements -- no small feat for an actor lacking wings and a tail.
Playing a variation on the old salt he played as a live-action character in "King Kong," Andy Serkis creates a memorable drunken sailor who gives the film some much-needed comic relief.
In Robert Zemeckis's second all-motion-capture movie, leave it to the often weird Crispin Glover to make a sympathetic monster out of Grendel, a misshapen mama's-boy who looks like the "Eraserhead" baby grown into a skeletal adult.
That's Bill Nighy as the frightening, embittered, undead pirate captain; those squid tentacles emanating from his face were added later by a computer.
Mark Ruffalo is the first Hulk portrayer to play both Bruce Banner and his green, raging alter ego, and it makes a difference. His is a Hulk you can cheer for, since you can recognize the tormented scientist inside.
In the best of Robert Zemeckis's motion-capture movies, Jim Carrey makes an impeccable Ebeneezer. There's no trace of Carrey-ness in his voice, his face, or his movements; its as completely immersed in a character as Carrey's ever been.
Zoe Saldana had to make you believe Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) would not only fall in love with a tall blue feline woman from another species, but that she was so worthy that he'd leave his own species to become a Na'vi. Mission accomplished.
Andy Serkis teamed up with "Lord of the Rings"-master Peter Jackson again to play one half of cinema's most famous ill-matched couple. Besides convincingly making a monkey out of himself, Serkis gave Kong enough soul to make it clear why his tiny human captive, Ann (Naomi Watts), would come to care for him so deeply.
In the best-ever comic performance by a motion-capture character, Seth MacFarlane provided both the wisecracking voice and the movements of the foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear.
Toby Jones gave the house elf both mischief and pathos. As annoying as he is in his first movie, he's so moving by the time he breathes his last that you'll be sobbing over his computer-generated remains. Now, that's acting.
Andy Serkis gives the rebellious chimp not only fierce intelligence, but also wounded dignity, sympathy, and charisma, all without uttering an intelligible word.
Andy Serkis's crowning achievement is still the one that put him on the motion-capture map -- and made everyone else realize that motion-capture was capable of creating movie characters with real soul. Or two conflicting souls, in Gollun's case, one happy to help the hobbits on their quest to destroy the ring, and one that would stop at nothing to possess the "precious" again.