Why Christian Bale deserves to win that Oscar!

‘It’s not who are not underneath. It’s what you do that defines you’

Christian Bale’s Batman in Batman Begins

This quote by Bale’s Batman in the 2004’s cult classic Batman Begins perfectly surmises his approach to acting.

The British-born ‘American Psycho’ actor Christian Bale is one of this generation’s leading method actors, having taken the mantle from Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando quite successfully.

Bale has given some of the greatest commercial and critical successes Hollywood has seen in the past few decades. With movies like American Hustle, The Big Short, The Batman Trilogy, The Prestige and Vice under his belt, Bale has proven to be one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood.

Bale’s dedication to the craft has garnered the most response and most directors wish to work with him because of his ability to completely surrender to the character he is playing.

Bale has frequently collaborated with David O Russell, Adam McKay and Christopher Nolan and has ended up winning multiple awards because of his performances in their movies.  

Bale’s dedication to his craft

Why Christian Bale deserves to win that Oscar!
Terrence Malick and Christian Bale at Austin City Limits filming for Song to Song

Bale first experiment with complete body transformation came to the fore when he starred in 2004’s psychological thriller The Machinist. He lost 63 pounds for the movie and the end product was an emaciated Bale that was able to terrorize his audience.

Bale’s transformation was compared to the weight gain regimen Robert De Niro had followed for his 1980 Oscar-winning performance in Raging Bull. But Bale has described his mental state after losing all that weight ‘very calm’.

Immediately after the release of The Machinist, Bale was chosen to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Going from emaciated to bulky and muscular in just six months was not an easy job for him, but he did it with aplomb. He is touted to be the best actor to play Batman, beating out his contemporaries George Clooney and Ben Affleck.

Though Bale continued to make strides into making films that got him both critical and commercial success, his next body transformation happened for David O Russell’s 2010 drama The Fighter for which he lost 30 pounds.   

His next body transformation was for another David O Russell film. This time it was for his role in 2013’s American Hustle. In the movie, Bale played the role of a con man and for this he gained 43 pounds and shaved his head completely. When Robert De Niro, who has a small role in the movie, met Bale on the sets for the first time, he was unable to recognise Bale.  

Why Christian Bale deserves to win that Oscar!

Bale’s latest complete body transformation for his role as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s 2018 biographical movie Vice has earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor and he has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.

The only time, on record, that Bale has refused to do a role that involved body transformation was for the role of Enzo Ferrari which was to be directed by Michael Mann. Bale choose to turn down the role because of serious health concerns owing to the touted weight gain he had to undergo for the film.

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