Face-Off: Harrison Ford vs. Gary Oldman

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

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.
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 doesn’t hold a candle to what Ford has accomplished. This category was not even close.
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, Oldman’s Russian accent in AIR FORCE ONE was much better than Ford’s Russian accent in K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER. The winner is Oldman in a very easy decision.
Dinner Plans
Who wouldn’t want to have dinner with one of the biggest movies stars ever to walk this earth? I’ll admit it would be pretty cool to meet Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Jack Ryan and Rick Deckard. But the problem is that I wouldn’t be breaking bread with those guys, I’d be chatting with Harrison Ford and as nice a guy as he seems I don’t 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 don’t think I would walk away with much more than a belly full of bacon.
He’s been married four times, he’s 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. I’m 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 Ford’s 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 doesn’t seem likely that Oldman will ever catch Ford in this category.
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. I’d like to leave this to the JoBlo community to make the final call and I’ll be honest when I say I’m hoping Gary comes out on top in a photo finish. Bingo!

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