90th Oscars Backstage Interview Transcript: ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

SPEECH BY: Gary Oldman


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Q. You asked Kazu makeup artist to work with and why do you think he's special?  Computer graphic can't replace his work. 
A. Do I think the computer graphic can replace his work? 

Q. Yeah. 
A. I hope not.  You know, the ‑‑ the clothes, makeup and clothes are the things that ‑‑ are the closest things to the actor.  And they actually touch the actor.  And they are the first people that you meet in the morning and they are really ‑‑ they are vital individuals that you interact with to ‑‑ I've done motion capture and you are in a gray void with no costume, and they then CG it on you later.  So to lose that kind of connection, you know, we really ‑‑ we worked as a team.  And plus, it's always easier, I think, to throw something out because something new comes along.  You know, just because you can.  I mean, he's a consummate artist and it was really my ‑‑ once I had stepped off the ledge, as it were, with Joe Wright, I said to Joe, it's contingent on getting Kazuhiro because, for me, he was really the only person on the planet that could have ‑‑ that could have pulled it off.  I mean, I think he delivered.  Yeah. 

Q. It's been almost a year since we were in Vegas, and you said if you ‑‑ if they will offer the Oscar, you wouldn't say no.  So what it really means to finally get it?
A. I didn't say no. 

Q. What it means, what it means for you an Oscar, to win an Oscar?
A. I think for this role, it's got a sort of special ‑‑ it feels like it has a special significance.  I can't say what it would be like to win an Oscar in any other year.  But winning an Oscar for playing arguably one of the greatest Britons who ever lived.  To win it for playing Winston makes it doubly special.  Does that make sense?  And this film and this company of actors and Joe, working again with Sarah Greenwood and Jacquie Durran and those actors on the set, it was a very ‑‑ it's been an unforgettable experience and a highlight of my career. 

Q. What is it like for you meeting so many young actors and young filmmakers that have looked up to you in their youth and throughout their career and are getting to share the stage with you tonight?
A. I think we are ‑‑ the thing that I ‑‑ one of the lessons that I learned from ‑‑ from John Hurt, the late John Hurt, God bless him.  When I was a younger man, went to the cinema, I looked up at, you know, Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay and Alan Bates and Peter O'Toole, and Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, they were all sort of my heros.  We are links in a chain, you know. 
I'm thrilled for Chalamet.  He's a lovely kid.  I mean, he really is.  He's a kid.  And he's a charmer.  Hugely talented.  And I said to him tonight, in the words of Armie, You will be back.  You know, he's got ‑‑ this is probably it for me.  He's got years.  He's got years yet. 

Q. Hello. 
A. I feel like I'm playing bingo.  One and four, 14, two and two, or 22.  One, one, legs 11 (whistles).  Go on. 

Q. This movie seems to be a lot about facing up to great fears and great obstacles.  Do you think people can relate to that in their lives apart from, like, politics and stuff like on a personal level so they connect to it in the movie?
A. We all have ‑‑ I think we can all relate to ‑‑ I mean, Joe has said that there's part of the movie that is about doubt.  But those insecurities and fears, we do things ‑‑ we want to do things with the best intentions.  I would like to give people the benefit of the doubt and say that they are motivated by a good heart, and, you know, they have the best intentions.  You know, but when you are in a position like, I think, Winston is in like he was in 1940, we see in the movie he sends 4,000 men to their death to save 300,000.  And when you are in that big chair, making those decisions, though in war, those are the types of things ‑‑ those are the types of decisions that you have to make, and then of course I don't know how you then sleep soundly in your bed on the evening of the day when you sent 4,000 innocent men to their death.  But you walk ‑‑ you walk in those shoes.  And I think that we can all ‑‑ we ‑‑ not that extent, but, you know, most people, I think, you know, in the audience, they have got financial worries.  They have got children.  They are trying to put the kids through college or they have illness or sickness in their family.  We've all got ‑‑ and certainly, I know that I, you know, there are regrets and things.  And you ‑‑ you know, that's the worst thing you can do as an artist is you can edit yourself and second guess, but I still sometimes have that little demon on my ‑‑ that little voice talking to me like that kid, you know, Mrs. Torrance. 

Q. If Winston Churchill were alive today, what advice would you think he would give the leaders of the world?
A. Oh, my heavens.  He would probably ‑‑

Q. Impeach Trump?
A. He would what? 

Q. Impeach Trump?
A. Maybe.  My God, he would give him a good talking to, wouldn't he? 

Q. What would he say? 
A. Well, none of them look at history.  He was a big believer that you've learned ‑‑ that you've looked at history to move forward.  There's an ‑‑ actually, there's an interesting thing.  There was sort of a survey done, and the children were asked about Winston Churchill, and not just ‑‑ I'm not talking about nine or ten‑year‑olds, I'm talking about, you know, young, young sort of college people.  And a great many of them thought that he was either a soldier in the First World War or he was a dog in a TV commercial in Britain, and there is a TV commercial called Churchill, and it's a bulldog, and he talks.  It's an insurance company called Churchill.  And we don't ‑‑ we don't teach history anymore, do we?  They don't know anything about it. 

Q. Thank you for making it come alive. 
A. Thank you, yeah.



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