One of the hottest and most popular British actors at the moment, Benedict Cumberbatch is a multitalented performer, worked in in theater, television, film and radio. He won many prestigious awards, including an Emmy for portraying Sherlock Holmes on a TV show. Cumberbatch’s biggest achievement on the movie thus far is an Oscar-nominated The Imitation Game.
Although his Hollywood breakthrough came a bit late, Cumberbatch was rather successful in BBC’s TV movies, often playing in biopics that suited him incredibly well. Despite getting his big screen debut at the age of 26 (which is a relatively late for an actor), his performances launched him among the today’s elite stars and is still climbing up on the ladder.
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born in 1976 in London, England. Both of his parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, are actors and supported his career from the beginning. Cumberbatch studied drama at Manchester University and was a regular in British Theater before getting the first role on film.
Here are the 10 astonishing performances from this rare gem.
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)
Based on a book, this Cold War drama was one of the best films of the year, and Gary Oldman excellently played an espionage veteran George Smiley, who has a task to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6. The rest of the cast is phenomenal (Firth, Hardy, Strong, and Hurt), and isn’t strange that the movie received three Oscar nominations.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a supporting actor, his character Peter Guillam, the young intelligence officer, is quite essential for the plot, as he is crucial in exposing the mole. Despite the smaller part, Cumberbatch blended perfectly into the story, and the most memorable scene of his is the fight with Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy). He is arguably the best-dressed member of the cast.
9. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
This Best Picture Oscar-winning movie is based on a true story about one black men’s fight for freedom and survival. Chiwetel Ejiofor is playing Solomon Northup, the protagonist of the story who is a free man forced into slavery after an abduction. His life will change forever when he meets the Canadian abolitionist played by Brad Pitt.
The rest of the cast Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Alfre Woodard, is brilliant and expressed the great chemistry. Lupita Nyongo won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role; John Ridley won the Academy Award Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
It collected six more nominations including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Directing, and Best Achievement in Film Editing.
Cumberbatch is William Prince Ford, a plantation patron who buys Northup and becomes his first owner. A decent and righteous man who treats his slaves with respect and kindness. He quickly started to sympathize with Northup, but his softness and weak willingness will lead to horrific circumstances. Another smaller part for Benedict, but he probably made the biggest impact among the supporting cast. His Southern accent sounds quite convincing, which isn’t easy for the Brit.
8. War Horse (Steven Spielberg, 2011)
Steven Spielberg rarely makes a bad movie, and this one is another proof of it. War Horse is a WWI drama about the young Albert Narracott, who is enlisted to serve in the army after his beloved horse was sold to the cavalry. Although the horse is the center of the story, it’s about people and humanity too.
An incredible quest and journey bring Albert away from England all the way to the front lines in the middle of a raging war. Jeremy Irvine is playing the main character while Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston were all excellent, as well. The cinematography is at the highest level, and the fact that the movie got six Oscar nominations including Best Motion Picture of the Year, and Best Achievement in Cinematography, says a lot about it.
Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Jamie Stewart, a mustached Major who leads the cavalry attack against the small German camp. However, he’s unaware of hidden machine guns in the woods. His horror is best reflected in the facial expressions.
The German captured him, and it was the end of Maj. Stewart’s story. War Horse was the Cumberbatch’s first, (and the only war movie so far, excluding Dunkirk movie documentary) he appeared in but clearly proved that can play a similar role in that field without a question.
7. The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon, 2013)
It’s a dramatic biography about Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The rise and fall of WikiLeaks, including the whistle-blowers, and the costs of keeping and exposing the government secrets.
The writing and directing failed to live up to the expectations; Bill Condon wasn’t the best suitable person to direct it but the acting was immense, though. Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl were astonishing, especially Cumberbatch whose transformation and adaptation are amazing.
Cumberbatch was pretty busy in 2013, and he starred in another biopic, this time as Julian Assange. His expression, non-verbal communication, and body language are the same as Assange’s. Again, a perfect portrayal of the non-fictional character, and although Assange refused to meet Cumberbatch to understand him better, the actor did the extremely good job. Benedict’s gift for impersonation is admirable, and it seems that a more complicated character is, it’s easier for him to act it.
6. Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams, 2013)
The second of the famously rebooted franchise, directed by J.J. Abrams; it received divided opinions among the critics, but it’s a must watch film for every fan. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is leading a hunt on a one-man weapon of mass destruction.
In a classic game of chess, the love and hate collide, the friendships will be tested, and the emotions are electrified. Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and Bruce Greenwood are among the notable names in the movie, but an exceptional performance, and undoubtedly the best acting in the film, goes to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Though he’s rarely playing the villains, Cumberbatch took the part of John Harrison – Khan, a vengeful and mysterious character who is the biggest rival of Captain Kirk and his crew. J.J. Abrams was impressed with Cumberbatch’s talent and even labeled him as a combination of Hannibal Lecter, The Joker, and Jack Torrance.
With a physical commitment in fighting scenes, and emotion controlling in playing the stone-faced psychopath, Cumberbatch amazed everyone on the set. It was his first appearance in the Start Trek franchise and the major blockbuster success in already fulfilled 2013 for him. After this film, Cumberbatch’s name became much better known worldwide.