Telluride: Darkest Hour puts Gary Oldman in Oscar race for Best Actor

(ctr) Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright's DARKEST HOUR, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jack English / Focus Features

Following the world premiere of Darkest Hour on Friday night at the 44th Telluride Film Festival, Gary Oldman’s Oscar for Best Actor is more than likely his to lose.

The next stop for the film, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement) from a screenplay by Anthony McCarten, will be the Canadian premiere on September 11th at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Oldman leads a cast that includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.

Despite many films over the years, the actor only has one Oscar nomination under his belt for the 2011 film, Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyDarkest Hour should give him is second nomination on the heels of his appearance as a dictator on trial in the mid-August release, The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

At Awards Daily, Sasha places Oldman’s performance up there with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote and Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln.  At Awards Circuit, Mark Johnson calls the film a companion to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

Darkest Hour is set over a four week period in 1940 following the appointment of Winston Churchill as the British Prime Minister.  According to Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter, The film’s overall chances at an Oscar nomination for Best Picture are likely to be hurt due to Dunkirk in addition to the Netflix series, The Crown, featuring John Lithgow in the role of Churchill.  While Churchill is not seen in Dunkirk, his June 4, 1940, speech to the House of Commons is featured as the soldiers read it while returning from the Battle of Dunkirk.


During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms.  As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman).  While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds.  Directed by Joe Wright, DARKEST HOUR is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.

Focus Features will open Darkest Hour in New York and Los Angeles on November 22, 2017 with an expansion to follow in December.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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