Oldman initially considered a career in music and is an accomplished pianist. He won a scholarship to the Rose Bruford Drama College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts in 1979. Oldman was made a fellow of the College on August 8, 1997. He also studied with the Greenwich Young People's Theatre.
Between 1984 and 1987, Oldman performed in several plays with both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1985 he performed in "The Pope's Wedding" for the Royal Court Theater and received TIME OUT's Fringe Award for Best Newcomer of 1985-86 and the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award for Best Actor, 1985.
In 1986, Oldman received the Evening Standard Film Award as Best Newcomer, and in 1988 he received a Best Actor nomination from the British Academy of Film and TV Arts for his portrayal of playwright Joe Orton in "Prick Up Your Ears."
In the late 1980's, Oldman married Lesley Manville, with whom he has a son, Alfie. The two later divorced, and Oldman was married to actress Uma Thurman from 1990 - 1992. Oldman has also been romantically linked to actress Isabella Rossellini, whom he met on the set of "Immortal Beloved." He is currently married to photographer Donya Fiorentino, and the two welcomed a boy, Gulliver Flynn, into the world on August 20th.
Oldman has recently stepped behind the camera, and his directorial debut, "Nil By Mouth" (which he also wrote), premiered at Cannes Film Festival to wonderful reviews and his lead actress Kathy Burke won the award for Best Actress."Nil By Mouth" also too the Channel Four Director's Award at the 51st Edinburgh Film Festival.
He sang "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" on the sountrack to "Sid and Nancy."
His singing voice can also be heard in the songs "You've Been Around" and "Stamford Hill" on guitarist Reeves Gabrels' release "The Sacred Squall of Now."
Artist Julian Schnabel (the director of "Basquiat") has a CD out entitled "Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud." Gary sings on this CD and there is also a track called "Gary's Song."
Gary Oldman's library includes essays on Bertold Brecht, poetry by Roger McGough, a biography of Montgomery Clift, The Elizabethan World Picture, all things Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.
"This is what acting is for Gary. It takes time and requires solitude. There is a certain process he can do only in private. Things work themselves out just as he's falling asleep. Or in his car. He talks to himself as he drives along, going over stuff. What he is waiting for he calls The Cloak; the cloak of inspiration. It's when the process kicks in. One moment you are looking for the character, the next you ARE the character. You know what they're thinking because you know what YOU'RE thinking. The Cloak. Sometimes it can fall early, sometimes it can fall late. You always wonder if the next time it'll fall at all."