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Oscar favourite Gary Oldman reveals own darkest hour as he 'went through hell but kept on going'

Mirror logo Mirror 04/03/2018 Halina Watts
a person wearing a suit and tie: Credits: WireImage © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: WireImage

Oscar favourite Gary Oldman ­suffered his own darkest hour when he collapsed after months of ­gruelling work, personal problems and poor health.

Oldman revealed he broke down ­physically after his ex-wife Donya Fiorentino accused him of domestic abuse.

He said: “I hit a wall two weeks ago and got the flu, and finally collapsed.”

But now the 59-year-old is up for the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

He said: “This is a moment in the sun. There are highs and lows in the career.”

GARY OLDMAN wearing glasses posing for the camera: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty

The optimism is a welcome relief for Oldman following the revelation of devastating claims made against him.

In legal documents filed in 2001, third wife Donya told how the actor spent thousands on alcohol and prostitutes during drug-fuelled weekends – charges he vehemently denied.

In reply, he called his former wife a “fantasist” whose own addiction to pills and alcohol tore apart their marriage and left her an unfit mother.

Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: AFP

A judge eventually sided with Oldman, granting him custody of their then young sons, Gulliver and Charlie.

Last month Donya spoke for the first time about their “nightmare” four-year marriage.

Speaking on Friday, at the Film Is Great reception sponsored by Silent Pool Gin, Oldman reckons he could go one better than in 2012 when he was nominated for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Tonight he is up against three-times Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) for best actor.

GARY OLDMAN wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera © Reuters

He said: “I’m feeling very good about it. To be recognised for playing Winston is a prize in itself. If they call my name I’ll have a few words and I’ll go home with an Oscar.”

Win or lose Oldman will be happy as he going on a belated honeymoon with art curator Gisele Schmidt, his fifth wife.

They wed in late August at the Beverly Hills home of Oldman’s manager Doug Urbanski but delayed the holiday to focus on promoting Darkest Hour.

He said: “It has been a rollercoaster few months for us, and to have her by my side has been wonderful. After the age of 50, it just got better. I met the love of my life Gisele, my wife, and I have the role of a lifetime.

“She has been so incredibly supportive during this whole process. Gisele really was a key collaborator in this whole process for me, and vital in me finding Churchill’s voice.”

Oldman actually considered turning down the role because the Second World War leader been played so well by other actors, such as Robert Hardy, Albert Finney and Brian Cox.

a group of people sitting at a table © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

But Oldman said he was drawn to the film as it showed Churchill “wasn’t a curmudgeon” but was “energetic and funny”.

He said: “We think of him as an old man – who was born in a bad mood. It wasn’t an immediate yes. Because he’s been played so successfully, you wonder what you can add.”

The omens for Oldman are good as he has won the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, SAG, AACTA and AARP for the role.

But he said the adulation had been tough: “This has all taken some getting used to. I’m quite a private person. I’ve never been any good with crowds. It’s all very nice. No complaints.

"But there’s an energy of people coming at you that you absorb. It’s quite frenetic. The night of the Golden Globes, I must have taken 300 selfies and it felt like I had met 1,000 people. And they’re all lovely and gracious and well-meaning.

“It’s shocking when you think about it, that that many people wanted to meet me in the first place. One should never take for granted the sound of applause.”

Oldman also reflected on getting older: “I am nearly 60. What can I say, the eyes are starting to go, the knees are a little dodgy – I make those old man sounds when I get up out of chairs.

“The great thing about being 60 is the things I have experienced and being able to say I was there when it happened. I was there the first time around.”

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