Oldman in the Oscar hunt

The days when British films and actors dominated the Oscar ceremony may be over. A rather limited British presence at the 2012 Academy Awards is led by Gary Oldman, nominated as Best Actor for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy.

Oldman, once the edgy young actor who starred in Reservoir Dogs and a host of provocative indie movies is now very much part of the Hollywood mainstream, as his response to the nomination shows. "It is extremely humbling, gratifying, and delightful to have your work recognised by the Academy," he said, "and to join the celebrated ranks of previous nominees and colleagues. Amazing."

There are also nominations for British actors in supporting roles. Kenneth Branagh is nominated for his role in My Week With Marilyn, and Janet McTeer has a nomination for Albert Nobbs, where she plays a woman disguising herself as a man, alongside Glenn Close.

There was disappointment for some familiar British names such as Carey Mulligan, Colin Firth and Stephen Daldry who failed to make the nominations list. Steve McQueen’s controversial film about sex addiction, Shame, also failed to meet with the Academy’s approval.

Oscar success tends to go to blander and more simplistic productions. In this genre, Britain can claim some reflected glory in the Best Picture category, for War Horse. Steven Spielberg’s sentimental blockbuster was based on a novel by British author Michael Morpurgo and the West End theatre production. It was filmed on location in Dartmoor with a predominantly British cast, including about half the population of Devon as extras.

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