Gary Oldman Receives Maltin Master Award

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Gary Oldman Receives Maltin Master Award
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Gary Oldman taking a selfie with a Batman fan (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)

Gary Oldman received the Maltin Modern Master Award at the Arlington Theatre during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) on Friday evening.

The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by the SBIFF. Established in 1995, it was created to honor an individual who has enriched film culture through their motion picture accomplishments. The award was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, and Michael Keaton.

Gary Oldman in front of the Arlington Theater (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)

Oldman is honored for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, which follows the former English Prime Minister in his early days as Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II. Oldman's performance was well-received as he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his work. The film has earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Leonard Maltin conducted the Q&A, which he noted was his 28th time conducting the Modern Master interview. Maltin commented on his love of Santa Barbara, calling it his second home. "Santa Barbara supports film and filmmakers," he said.

On introducing Oldman, Maltin said he's a chameleon and shapeshifter because simply defining him as an actor doesn't seem good enough as he truly becomes his characters. Oldman then walked on stage to a standing ovation from the crowd. 

"Ah the sound of applause," he joked.

Leonard Maltin and Gary Oldman (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)

Maltin started from the early days of Oldman's career where he portrayed Sid Vicious in the 1986 film Sid and Nancy. He originally turned down the role before it came back around again. "I turn everything down, that's my process," Oldman said while laughing. 

The topic of discussion then turned to Oldman's two popular franchise roles, Sirius Black in Harry Potter series and James Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Oldman discussed how he was a single father of two young boys at the time of filming The Dark Knight and took 27 flights from Los Angeles to London during the first film to spend time with his family. "The weariness of Gordon was just jet lag," he said while laughing.

Oldman's Darkest Hour co-star Ben Mendelsohn took to the stage to present the Modern Master Award. "To be young in the time that Gary's work was coming out was just heaven," said Mendelsohn. 

Gary Oldman accepting his award (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
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