With Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG nominations already for his towering portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest HourGary Oldman has been an odds-on favorite to land his first Oscar (and only second nomination) this year. He recently visited the studio for my Deadline video series The Actor’s Side, in which I explore the techniques, style, insecurities and careers of some of our finest actors.

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In our wide ranging conversation, Oldman and I discuss his initial tendencies to turn down roles before he ever gets to “yes.”  That was the case with his first major screen role, as Sid Vicious in Sid And Nancy , as well as his feeling in the beginning that he shouldn’t be taking on Churchill. Fortunately he did it, and we hear how he did it without gaining any weight for the role — an actor’s trait he once possessed until it threatened his health. “I was young and foolish” is how he describes some of those decisions earlier in his career.

Oldman also discusses the Malcolm McDowell movie that inspired his choice to become an actor (and no, it was NOT A Clockwork Orange), as well as his admiration for actors like Al Pacino, Gene Hackman and Robert De Niro, particularly the latter’s movies like Raging Bull which he saw twice in one day, and Taxi Driver which he saw seven or eight times.

As for playing Churchill, Oldman says he is actually still learning something new every day even though the film is in the can.

Check out our conversation above.