5. Third Star (Hattie Dalton, 2010)
An independent movie with a budget of just £1,500,000 is revolving around James (Cumberbatch), a 29-year-old who is dying of a muscle cancer and has a little time left. He wants to go to his favorite place in Wales, along with his three best friends Davy (Tom Burke), Miles (J.J. Field), and Bill (Adam Robertson). Despite knowing it’s a bad idea, and that James is barely walking due to disease in one of his legs, they push him in a cart. During the journey, we learn a lot about the characters.
The sad and inspiring story could easily earn an Oscar to Cumberbatch if the movie were bigger because his role is extraordinary, devastating, and breathtaking. Cumberbatch even wanted to shave his head to portray the character much closer, but the producers of “Sherlock” (that he filmed at the time) were against the idea. His ability to endear the audience is remarkable, and his acting skills weren’t unnoticed.
4. Stuart: A Life Backwards (David Atwood, 2007)
In this TV movie, based on a true story, a writer and charity worker Alexander Masters (Benedict Cumberbatch) meets Stuart Shorter (Tom Hardy), an alcoholic and homeless guy with a violent past. Soon after, they become friends, and Alexander is interested in writing a story about Stuart’s problematic life.
Stuart agrees, but with a condition to write it backward, so it’ll be more exciting. Alexander started to realize the painful life and traumatic experience of his friend as the story goes. David Atwood directs the film without sentimentalism although the subject is rather depressing. He uses a lot of humor and comic which separates the movie from the similar Hollywood projects.
The performance of the two British most wanted actors is just brilliant. Benedict Cumberbatch is superb in his role, Hardy and he formed a great team (they will play together again in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). Benedict played Alexander Masters very accurately, and although his character is more of a witness and observer, he was shoulder to shoulder with Tom Hardy.
3. Hawking (Philip Martin, 2004)
The first thing that crosses the film enthusiasts’ minds when Stephen Hawking is mentioned is certainly The Theory of Everything from 2014, starring an Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne. However, the biopic about the famous professor had its debut in 2004, in a BBC’s TV Movie.
Benedict Cumberbatch was the first actor ever to portray the character of the theoretical physicist, and tell the story about his life and work. Despite being diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21, Hawking shook the world with his ground-breaking theory on the nature of the universe. Tom Ward as Roger Penrose, John Sessions as Dennis Sciama, Peter Firth as Fred Hoyle, and Lisa Dillon as Jane Wilde are the supporting cast.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who is a good friend with Eddie Redmayne, once again gave a spectacular performance and was nominated for a BAFTA, and also won the honors for Television Film Best Performance by an Actor at the Monte Carlo Television Festival. One of the British finest artists is proved to be very convincing Hawking, portraying his physical deterioration precisely and sympathetically. He also captured his brilliance and vulnerability with success.
2. Van Gogh: Painted with Words (Andrew Hutton, 2010)
BBC specialized in biopics which are critically well received, and this one is nothing but a true hit. The difference between this and most of the Hollywood biographical movies is in the dialog. The entire script is taken from the letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Benedict Cumberbatch), and his brother Theo (Jamie Parker), and from their contemporaries.
Along with an excellent and original storyline, we have the genuine paintings, drawings, sketches, and studies of Van Gogh in high definition. It’s probably the most vivid presentation of Van Gogh’s art on a film. Also, its’ quite informative and engaging, even for the people who knew a thing or two about the painter’s life.
Benedict Cumberbatch already starred in several biopics before this one, and his performances were breathtaking, but Van Gogh remains one of his finest bio portrayals to date. He didn’t outplay a figure of Van Gogh in any moment, something that not many actors are capable of, especially when it’s about such a historic person like the Dutch painter. Cumberbatch played his character with brilliance and absolute perfection.
1. The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014)
During the darkest days of WWII, the cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) and the team of mathematicians are trying to crack the Enigma code to win the war. It’s based on a true story. The essentials are real, and the complexity of the story can be overwhelming, but it’s realistic in the world of the mathematics and cryptology.
Morten Tyldum’s directing is exquisite, and he manages to provide a detailed struggle in a race against time. The shots are remarkable; the scenes as well, Keira Knightley at her best, and the rest of the cast (Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Mark Strong, Charles Dance) are pretty solid. Graham Moore won an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
The movie was awarded other seven nominations, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Directing, and Best Achievement in Film Editing.
With this role, Benedict Cumberbatch reached the new heights with an Oscar nomination performance and sent the message to all cinema enthusiasts around the globe that he will win the most prestigious award in the coming years. He gracefully embraced the character’s emotions and sexuality, acting with authority all the time. It’s another memorable part from the class actor.
The list could be even longer, and it’s a shame, but some of the movies such as Fortysomething, Parade’s End, August: Osage County, Atonement, and Starter for 10 failed to make a cut but are surely well appreciated.
Author Bio: Oliver is from Nis, Serbia. He graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy, major in Journalism. He is a freelance journalist/writer with a lot of enthusiasm about sports and cinema.