English character actor of the stage and screen. He broke into the UK film scene in the 1980s, playing the role of Sid Vicious in Alex Cox's biopic Sid and Nancy (1986). In the 1990s Oldman gravitated towards US-based productions, including playing Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991), the title role in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), and a corrupt police officer in Luc Besson's Léon (1994). He gained international acclaim and two BAFTAs for his debut as writer-director with the raw, London-set study of domestic violence Nil By Mouth (1997).
In the 1980s Oldman began working with such leading directors as Mike Leigh, in Meantime (1984; for television), and Stephen Frears, in Prick Up Your Ears (1987). Known for his versatility, Oldman has impressed in a range of roles, including one of the doomed protagonists of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990); a brutal drug dealer in True Romance (1993); the unhinged villain of Air Force One (1997); strong supporting roles in blockbuster franchises such as Harry Potter (2004–11) and Batman (2005–12); the spy George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), for which he received BAFTA and Oscar nominations; and Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017).
He was born in London and trained at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in Kent. A number of theatre roles followed graduation in 1979, including work with the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was while he was starring in Edward BondThe Pope's Wedding at the Royal Court that Oldman was spotted by Alex Cox, then casting for Sid and Nancy.