Gary Oldman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Norman Stansfield in Leon: The Professional.
Having just reviewed Raul Julia in Street Fighter we are staying on actually a similar wavelength with Gary Oldman in this film. Although there is a major difference in that Leon is actually a good movie, but this is a case of strategic overacting just like Julia's performance. Oldman fits the qualifications to be allowed to overact as he has given his fair share of downplayed performances like in JFK, The Dark Knight, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Also just like Raul Julia had a good reason to overact when playing a dictator who flaunted around in a gaudy get up, Oldman as well has a reason to overplay with the nature of his character, the extreme nature of the film, and act as the right sort of counter point to Jean Reno's very restrained performance.
Oldman makes no excuses here how he is going to play this part, and I suppose that might turn some off but not me as Oldman knows how to handle a performance like this. Oldman makes Norman Stansfield a very strange combination of tics and mannerisms, although he never feels like the bad kind of mannered either as he brings this into into the whole mess that is Stansfield. If you really think about everything that there really makes Stansfield an interesting character is found in these eccentricities and without them he very well could have been just a pretty standard cop villain. Oldman definitely will not have that as shown by his very first scene, which Oldman takes a rather unorthodox approach to.
In his first scene Stansfield just has to be a bit intimidating and tell his idiotic stooge that Stansfield is gonna come and kill em if he does not come up with the 100 percent pure drugs. Simple enough I suppose, but Oldman sets out on making Stansfield's threat as memorable as he possibly can. Oldman gets right in the man's face coming uncomfortably close, and proceeds to sniff the man even. This is all very odd, but with this sets up a different sort of intimidation from Stansfield. Many times the psychotic killer is silent and detached, Oldman forgets about that entirely and bases his performance around a guy who constantly talks and doesn't mind getting into the face of a person he is about to kill. Oldman brings the menace to the film through the sheer unpredictability of Stansfield.
When the stooge does not make good Stansfield goes on his massacre. This scene is Oldman's flamboyance at its finest. He performs it as Stansfield describes like a Beethoven Symphony, who he incidentally portrayed in Immortal Beloved also in 1994, which he begins with pill popping. Never has the reaction to a drug been so absurd yet so brilliant. Oldman's face becomes that of ecstasy, as well his whole body contorts like a snake as he absorbs the drug. After that he begins the massacre which Oldman plays as a perverse dance. As he goes about killing everyone in the apartment of the stooge Oldman has such unending glee as he does it. He is so sadistic yet so light on his feet as he maneuvers through the scene that he not only manages to bring the brutality to the scene yet allows it to be darkly comic.
After most of the family is dead Stansfield takes time out to talk about Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms. This scene is no doubt self indulgence sure, but that doesn't really matter as Stansfield definitely is a self indulgent sort a guy, and more importantly Oldman's performance is one that just is a joy to watch. Oldman is definitely having fun as he dishes out Stansfield's psychotic rant giving maybe a little insight into his demented mind set that treats his games of murder as just music to his ears. It is just fine that Oldman is having so much fun since Oldman's energy actually lets us have the fun right along with him, even it can be rather uneasy fun so to speak considering the subject matter at hand, nevertheless it works completely.
With his Symphony finished Stansfield actually disappears for quite awhile, but Oldman already made his unforgettable impression making it so we never forget his existence even when the film stays away from the character for quite awhile. Stansfield does appear again and Oldman continues to be glorious. One particularly great scene is when Stansfield catches Mathilda trying to somehow kill. It is an amazing scene because Oldman keeps Stansfield so erratic. In the scene Stansfield even sort of apologizes for his crime, and the best part about that is that Oldman actually plays it that Stansfield isn't really even lying when he says something like that but he so out of control he could express a little regret even before he plans just to kill again.
Of course the films eventually leads to the point where Stansfield tries to kill Leon and Mathilda with everything at his disposal. After one group fails we get the penultimate line reading of the film, and just like Raul Julia's "For Me It Was Tuesday" it is immortal. This line is only one word, but what a word it is. Stansfield is asked to clarify who he wants and he does it with "Everrryyyonnneeeee!!!". Oldman rips it out like a primal scream, it very well could have caused a lesser actors head to explode as Oldman's expression certainly seems like his head comes close to do doing so. That line is pretty much a summation of Oldman's entire performance which is insanely entertaining well being wholly insane. It is a genius piece of acting by Oldman, and once again for 1994 I have found that rarest of ham that is oh so delicious.