Gary Oldman expresses dissatisfaction with his portrayal of Sirius Black in ‘Harry Potter’

In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Oscar winner Gary Oldman appeared to be his own harshest critic. In discussing his performance as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise, Oldman admitted that he found his work to be “mediocre.” The actor mentioned that fans usually bring up this particular role when asking for his autograph, adding that not even his wife believes he is being ridiculous when he says that his work in the movies was subpar.

Oldman’s harsh self-assessment does not stop at Sirius Black, however. The actor boldly declared that if he had the chance, he would “put it all on the fire and burn it and do it all again” when it comes to his acting career. This bold statement seems to cast doubt on his entire body of work, from his portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK to his depiction of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, which won him an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

In discussing the subjective nature of art, Oldman mentioned that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and calling his performances great is subjective. The 65-year-old actor explained that his confidence in his own acting abilities is not necessarily a sign of good health and that he aims to make his next project better than his last.

Reflecting on his role as Sirius Black, Oldman admitted that perhaps his performance would have been different if he had read the Harry Potter books beforehand, alluding to the approach taken by his late colleague, Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape in the franchise.

In this candid discussion, Oldman reflected on the innate subjectivity of art and how he nitpicks his own work just as other people do. He stated that he often questions whether he is conveying the intended message through his performance and that seeing his work on screen often leads to constructive self-critique. The actor pointed out that old work is old work, and one ought to focus on making the next project better.

Oldman first appeared in the Harry Potter franchise in 2004’s The Prisoner of Azkaban and reprised his role in The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, and The Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Two years ago, in a Harry Potter 20th Anniversary HBO special, Oldman returned to the Warner Bros. studios in Leavesden, England, where all eight of the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, Oldman looked fondly back at the memories he created playing the iconic role and how the experience gave him a whole new fanbase.

There seems to be a stark disconnect between the widely held appreciation for Oldman’s work and his own dim view of it. The actor’s open self-critique raises questions about the objective quality of his performances and about how fans and critics perceive them. Nonetheless, Oldman’s honesty and introspection about his own work are ammunition for admirers who want to understand the complexities of his craft on a deeper level.