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Face-Off: Harrison Ford vs. Gary Oldman

08.15.2013by: Indiana Sev
Last week we witnessed Boston buddies Matt Damon and Big Ben Affleck tie-up in our installment of The Face-Off. I was hoping we would also solve the mystery of whether or not they ever dated each other, but alas no verdict on that yet. This week we decided to pit former AIR FORCE ONE (still crossing my fingers for AIR FORCE TOO) co-stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman against one another for their second pairing together in the thriller PARANOIA, due out this weekend.
Filmography
Ford exploded in the 1980s but most people forget that besides STAR WARS in the 1970s, he also played bit parts in such classics as AMERICAN GRAFFITI, THE CONVERSATION and APOCALYPSE NOW. He established himself in the 1980s with two more Star Wars films, the Indiana Jones trilogy (in my eyes, there are still only three Indiana Jones films), BLADE RUNNER and a trio of fantastic thrillers: WITNESS, THE MOSQUITO COAST and FRANTIC. The early 90s were kind to him with a couple of Jack Ryan films and THE FUGITIVE but then the duds became more frequent with stinkers like SABRINA, RANDOM HEARTS and that silliness with Anne Heche. He loses some points for the recent lack of quality in his movies but his entire body of work is still one of the best ever in the business.
Gary Oldman hit us fast and hard in the early 90s with memorable roles in good movies like STATE OF GRACE, JFK, DRACULA, TRUE ROMANCE, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL (Bingo!) and IMMORTAL BELOVED. Things petered out a little afterwards with only a few studs but more duds. His inclusion in the Harry Potter and Batman franchises have put this English cat back on the map with a future filmography that looks very promising. In the end, his body of work doesnít hold a candle to what Ford has accomplished. This category was not even close.
Acting/Awards
Ford is a solid and charming actor that can do the job. His work in movies like THE MOSQUITO COAST, REGARDING HENRY and THE FUGITIVE are proof of this but his only Oscar nomination came when Tears for Fears were still cranking out hits. His great work as detective John Book in WITNESS was what earned him that nod and although he walked away without an award he was satisfied nonetheless for protecting the Amish from bad guy Danny Glover and for bagging Kelly McGillis.
Gary Oldman was considered the best actor never to have gotten an Oscar nomination by the time he got his first (and only) nod in 2011 for TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. He walked away empty-handed but should have at least three Oscar nominations to his credit already if all was fair and right in the world. In any case, he is one of the best character actors and one of the best English actors ever and he would have an easier time playing roles Ford has played than the other way around (can see you Ford trying to pull off Sid Vicious in SID & NANCY or Drexl Spivey in TRUE ROMANCE?). As a final argument, Oldmanís Russian accent in AIR FORCE ONE was much better than Fordís Russian accent in K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER. The winner is Oldman in a very easy decision.
Dinner Plans
Who wouldnít want to have dinner with one of the biggest movies stars ever to walk this earth? Iíll admit it would be pretty cool to meet Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Jack Ryan and Rick Deckard. But the problem is that I wouldnít be breaking bread with those guys, Iíd be chatting with Harrison Ford and as nice a guy as he seems I donít think he would be the life of the party when all is said and done. I see him more of a breakfast guy who gets up at dawn and then goes to pilot his helicopter and saves lives. People would be impressed if they knew I dined with him but I donít think I would walk away with much more than a belly full of bacon.
Heís been married four times, heís English and likely a guy who more often gets home at 6:00 a.m. than gets up at that time. I think a dinner conversation with Oldman would make me an even bigger fan of his and fill me with stories I can tell my friends for decades to come. Iím making my reservations already and pacing myself with the liquor because this is the guy I want to hang out with!
Box Office
With the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises in his back pocket, Harrison Ford's movies have earned 3.6 billion domestically which averages out to about 104 million bucks a film. Despite some of his recent films not making much coin it looks like his totals will just continue to climb with more Solo and Dr. Jones work to come.
Oldman fights off Fordís two super franchises with the Harry Potter and Batman films and I think he would have a chance to one day surpass Ford if Chris Nolan would only return my calls and let me convince him to continue making Batfilms. But until that happens, Oldman trails Ford with a respectable average of $86 million a film and a total of $2.7 billion earned domestically. But unless Christian Bale fights crime in Gotham again, it doesnít seem likely that Oldman will ever catch Ford in this category.
IT'S A TIE!
I hated to call a tie on my first foray into the Face-Off but this was a pretty close race when I considered all the factors. Ford is a worldwide mega-star who led his biggest hits to success and yet Oldman has acting in his blood, is a fascinating guy, and has gained major momentum in the last decade. Iíd like to leave this to the JoBlo community to make the final call and Iíll be honest when I say Iím hoping Gary comes out on top in a photo finish. Bingo!

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10:10AM on 08/18/2013
A sequel of AIR FORCE ONE should be called AIR FORCE ONE MORE TIME.
.
That is all.
A sequel of AIR FORCE ONE should be called AIR FORCE ONE MORE TIME.
.
That is all.
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11:58AM on 08/16/2013

Way Too Different to Compare

Gary Oldman is one of the greatest actors of all time, OF ALL TIME, but Harrison Ford has secured much more historic roles in history being that he is a leading man as an actor, Gary Oldman has played a dread rasta to a T, fifth element, professional, State of Grace, I mean he is unrecognizable from role to role, he is almost up there with Daniel Day Lewis, almost, but Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and Han Solo, nuff said there, it is like comparing a cheeseburger to lobster.
Gary Oldman is one of the greatest actors of all time, OF ALL TIME, but Harrison Ford has secured much more historic roles in history being that he is a leading man as an actor, Gary Oldman has played a dread rasta to a T, fifth element, professional, State of Grace, I mean he is unrecognizable from role to role, he is almost up there with Daniel Day Lewis, almost, but Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and Han Solo, nuff said there, it is like comparing a cheeseburger to lobster.
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+0
11:17AM on 08/16/2013
I don't get it...I know it ends 2-2 in ticks, but the whole thing is set up for Harrison Ford to be victorious...and then you pull a 24 on us...and call it a tie???? Huh? For the record...I'd have called it a tie.
I don't get it...I know it ends 2-2 in ticks, but the whole thing is set up for Harrison Ford to be victorious...and then you pull a 24 on us...and call it a tie???? Huh? For the record...I'd have called it a tie.
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9:59AM on 08/16/2013

But....But....

Commissioner Gordon you guys....Commissioner Gordon. Come on....
Commissioner Gordon you guys....Commissioner Gordon. Come on....
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+5
9:16PM on 08/15/2013

Give me...

A fucking break. A tie? Seriously? This column is getting lame. It's like you guys are the sports or entertainment reporters who don't want to upset the people they are reporting on because you want them to still do interviews and shit.. Ford is standing on Oldman's neck.
A fucking break. A tie? Seriously? This column is getting lame. It's like you guys are the sports or entertainment reporters who don't want to upset the people they are reporting on because you want them to still do interviews and shit.. Ford is standing on Oldman's neck.
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8:18PM on 08/15/2013

Ford

I actually think Oldman is the better actor, but he's normally part of an ensemble and not the lead. Ford doesn't have the same range, but there's no denying in his prime he could carry a film on his own as the lead. If it was anyone other than Ford, I'd choose Oldman. But Ford is just to iconic to not get my vote.
I actually think Oldman is the better actor, but he's normally part of an ensemble and not the lead. Ford doesn't have the same range, but there's no denying in his prime he could carry a film on his own as the lead. If it was anyone other than Ford, I'd choose Oldman. But Ford is just to iconic to not get my vote.
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7:16PM on 08/15/2013

Indiana Jones Victory

Harrison Ford definitely is the winner here...he has two iconic characters and a bunch of good movies. Thats not to say that Gary Oldman is bad...far from it...he is an awesome character with good range..but you pin him up against FORD and well ya know.........
Harrison Ford definitely is the winner here...he has two iconic characters and a bunch of good movies. Thats not to say that Gary Oldman is bad...far from it...he is an awesome character with good range..but you pin him up against FORD and well ya know.........
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+4
7:04PM on 08/15/2013

Harrison Ford.

The man played Indiana Jones. Easy win for me.
The man played Indiana Jones. Easy win for me.
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6:56PM on 08/15/2013

Great face-off

Even though Ford is more of an A-lister, as some others point out, Oldman should take this one. More staying power and the definition of versatile. Love them both though.

Extra tidbit: I'd add Presumed Innocent (1990) to one of Ford's better performances and most underrated films.
Even though Ford is more of an A-lister, as some others point out, Oldman should take this one. More staying power and the definition of versatile. Love them both though.

Extra tidbit: I'd add Presumed Innocent (1990) to one of Ford's better performances and most underrated films.
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1:02AM on 08/16/2013
True!!!
True!!!
6:15PM on 08/15/2013

This is not a tie

Love Gary Oldman and all but Ford was Indiana Jones AND Han Solo, that alone puts him well out in front.
Love Gary Oldman and all but Ford was Indiana Jones AND Han Solo, that alone puts him well out in front.
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5:25PM on 08/15/2013

Gary Oldman for me

Yes, I have nothing but respect for Harrison Ford and the iconic roles he's played and he's clearly a better actor than many people realize (THE MOSQUITO COAST). But Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors for one simple reason: everyone ups their game when he's around. Even on the crappiest of appearances (FRIENDS, anyone?), his mere presence forces even the lousiest of actors to start bringing it onscreen. That's the mark of a great actor, IMO.
Yes, I have nothing but respect for Harrison Ford and the iconic roles he's played and he's clearly a better actor than many people realize (THE MOSQUITO COAST). But Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors for one simple reason: everyone ups their game when he's around. Even on the crappiest of appearances (FRIENDS, anyone?), his mere presence forces even the lousiest of actors to start bringing it onscreen. That's the mark of a great actor, IMO.
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4:00PM on 08/15/2013
Oldman has way more rnage than Ford, I hate to admit. Consider all the characters Ford has played and realize how that range doesnt even approach Oldman. I mean Commissioner Gordon was also Stansfield in Leon??? Lee Harvey Oswald was that chopped up freak from Hannibal??? C'mon!
Oldman has way more rnage than Ford, I hate to admit. Consider all the characters Ford has played and realize how that range doesnt even approach Oldman. I mean Commissioner Gordon was also Stansfield in Leon??? Lee Harvey Oswald was that chopped up freak from Hannibal??? C'mon!
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1:35AM on 08/16/2013
Don't forget about Drexel! "He must've thought it was White Boy Day... It ain't White Boy Day, is it?"
Don't forget about Drexel! "He must've thought it was White Boy Day... It ain't White Boy Day, is it?"
8:22PM on 08/15/2013
i cannot argue that Indy and Han are two of the most iconic characters ever. i just approach this from a connoiseur's perspective and give it to Oldman for sheer booming talent. i mean, Dracula alone required some serious chops. but i see where youre coming from.
i cannot argue that Indy and Han are two of the most iconic characters ever. i just approach this from a connoiseur's perspective and give it to Oldman for sheer booming talent. i mean, Dracula alone required some serious chops. but i see where youre coming from.
4:42PM on 08/15/2013
It was not an easy choice for me. As an actor Oldman has a much greater range. Ford wins only because his greatest roles are legendary.
It was not an easy choice for me. As an actor Oldman has a much greater range. Ford wins only because his greatest roles are legendary.
1:46PM on 08/15/2013
Harrison Ford is an A-list star, but overall because he's mostly bland and risk averse these days.
Gary Oldman is an actor of amazing versatility, p[laying villain or hero with equal depth and commitment. His Dracula may be one of the best Draculas. And his Jim Gordon is perhaps the best Jim Gordon. Whatever role he takes he tries to make it the best possible. I'm giving Oldman the edge. here. Call me back when Harrison Ford tries anything CLOSE to resembling Dracula or Sid Vicious.
Harrison Ford is an A-list star, but overall because he's mostly bland and risk averse these days.
Gary Oldman is an actor of amazing versatility, p[laying villain or hero with equal depth and commitment. His Dracula may be one of the best Draculas. And his Jim Gordon is perhaps the best Jim Gordon. Whatever role he takes he tries to make it the best possible. I'm giving Oldman the edge. here. Call me back when Harrison Ford tries anything CLOSE to resembling Dracula or Sid Vicious.
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1:48PM on 08/15/2013
But one of my favorite performances was Harrison ford in the Fugitive. Loved that movie. Ford's Indiana Jones, Han Solo, these are iconic roles. Ford is great. I loved him in cowboys and Aliens too. But he's never even approached what Gary Oldman has in versatility.
But one of my favorite performances was Harrison ford in the Fugitive. Loved that movie. Ford's Indiana Jones, Han Solo, these are iconic roles. Ford is great. I loved him in cowboys and Aliens too. But he's never even approached what Gary Oldman has in versatility.
1:35PM on 08/15/2013

Oldman

I love Harrison Ford so it hurts to pick anyone other than him, but Gary Oldman is probably my favorite living actor. Oldman, for me.
I love Harrison Ford so it hurts to pick anyone other than him, but Gary Oldman is probably my favorite living actor. Oldman, for me.
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1:29PM on 08/15/2013

:D

Gary Oldman. He's had better movies for his entire career. Han Solo keeps making these horrible movies.
Gary Oldman. He's had better movies for his entire career. Han Solo keeps making these horrible movies.
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12:37PM on 08/15/2013

Harrison Ford

Gary Oldman is an incredible actor and probably better overall but I just can't pick him. I grew up watching Ford and still to this day, the first three Indy movies are my all time favorite. Throw Han Solo in the mix and Ford is untouchable.
Gary Oldman is an incredible actor and probably better overall but I just can't pick him. I grew up watching Ford and still to this day, the first three Indy movies are my all time favorite. Throw Han Solo in the mix and Ford is untouchable.
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12:21PM on 08/15/2013

Harrison Ford

Personally I like Gary Oldman more, but Harrison Ford wins with him playing Indiana Jones and Han Solo alone.
Personally I like Gary Oldman more, but Harrison Ford wins with him playing Indiana Jones and Han Solo alone.
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+5
12:15PM on 08/15/2013

Oldman

How about the tiebreaker be Disposition? Ford seems like he's getting his teeth pulled, not just when he's giving interviews anymore, but when he's onscreen (which is funny since he doesn't need the money so he can pick and choose his roles). I hate saying that! What the hell happened that broke Ford's spirits for making movies??? What happened to the guy that joked they should rename Frantic to Moderately Disturbed? Oldman has never lost his love for performing and it shows in every movie he
How about the tiebreaker be Disposition? Ford seems like he's getting his teeth pulled, not just when he's giving interviews anymore, but when he's onscreen (which is funny since he doesn't need the money so he can pick and choose his roles). I hate saying that! What the hell happened that broke Ford's spirits for making movies??? What happened to the guy that joked they should rename Frantic to Moderately Disturbed? Oldman has never lost his love for performing and it shows in every movie he is in. He brings up the quality of every production no matter how bad it is and ALWAYS brings something new and engaging!
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12:58AM on 08/16/2013
Really? You know who likes hearing that? "EVERYONE!!!" (shameless movie quote pun)
Really? You know who likes hearing that? "EVERYONE!!!" (shameless movie quote pun)
4:40PM on 08/15/2013
Lately he hasn't looked quite as disgruntled about his work. Maybe it's the segue into character work that's helped him.
Lately he hasn't looked quite as disgruntled about his work. Maybe it's the segue into character work that's helped him.
12:07PM on 08/15/2013
On the one hand, Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors of all-time, as well as someone who seems genuinely interesting in his own right.

On the other hand, Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors of all-time, and he played Indiana Jones, my favorite movie character of all time.

Ford squeezes out the winner purely on sentimentality.
On the one hand, Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors of all-time, as well as someone who seems genuinely interesting in his own right.

On the other hand, Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors of all-time, and he played Indiana Jones, my favorite movie character of all time.

Ford squeezes out the winner purely on sentimentality.
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11:55AM on 08/15/2013
Also, I know it gets said every time there's a tie, but I have to agree...

I think ties are a cheap escape. The whole point of a face-off is to get a victor. My suggestion would be to have a tie-breaker section when a tie occurs and have it be something unique (ex. hottest wife, least arrests). Ties are lame - keep it interesting.
Also, I know it gets said every time there's a tie, but I have to agree...

I think ties are a cheap escape. The whole point of a face-off is to get a victor. My suggestion would be to have a tie-breaker section when a tie occurs and have it be something unique (ex. hottest wife, least arrests). Ties are lame - keep it interesting.
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11:43AM on 08/15/2013

Harrison Ford

You can't beat Indiana Jones.

You can't beat Han Solo.

And these were played by the same guy. To me, these iconic roles trump all. Oldman is a great actor, but unfortunately he can't match the greatness of my fan love for some of Ford's characters.
You can't beat Indiana Jones.

You can't beat Han Solo.

And these were played by the same guy. To me, these iconic roles trump all. Oldman is a great actor, but unfortunately he can't match the greatness of my fan love for some of Ford's characters.
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11:33AM on 08/15/2013
It's a personal thing, but Harrison Ford definitely wins for me. Gary Oldman is, objectively, probably a more skilled actor. But Harrison Ford is just such an icon and I can't think about my childhood favourite films without thinking about Harrison Ford. I'm looking forward to seeing them go at it again, but the trailer for Paranoia doesn't inspire much confidence at all, and neither does Robert Luketic being at the helm.
It's a personal thing, but Harrison Ford definitely wins for me. Gary Oldman is, objectively, probably a more skilled actor. But Harrison Ford is just such an icon and I can't think about my childhood favourite films without thinking about Harrison Ford. I'm looking forward to seeing them go at it again, but the trailer for Paranoia doesn't inspire much confidence at all, and neither does Robert Luketic being at the helm.
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11:28AM on 08/15/2013

Gary Oldman!

If there has been any Oscar worthy of an Academy Award but has yet to receive one it's Oldman. The man is a chameleon who deserves tons of recognition.
If there has been any Oscar worthy of an Academy Award but has yet to receive one it's Oldman. The man is a chameleon who deserves tons of recognition.
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