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In the Spotlight: Academy Award Nominee Christian Bale

February 05, 2014


In the Spotlight: Academy Award Nominee Christian Bale

Academy Award Nominee Christian Bale (41) is acclaimed as one of the most versatile actors in entertainment.  With the 2014 Academy Awards just a month away, ChildrenInFilm.com takes a look at his illustrious career. Nominated for Best Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his role in American Hustle, Christian learned to adapt to change and challenge from an early age.
With a father who was a commercial pilot, Christian’s family lived in numerous countries including England, Portugal, and the United States.

He was born on January 30, 1974 in Wales, into a family that had no shortage of talent. His mom was a dancer and clown, an older sister was an actress, and his grandfather rubbed elbows with John Wayne as his stunt double.


1st break 

Christian was only 9 when he gained his first acting job in a cereal commercial. In 1986, at thirteen, he appeared in the NBC mini-series Anastasia: the Mystery of Anna. That’s how he caught Steven Spielberg’s attention.


Childhood roles

Christian rose to the top among 4,000 other children in auditions to be cast as James Graham in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987). For his highly emotional performance, the boy received the National Board of Review award for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor as well as the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture. Initially, Christian had difficulty adjusting to the spotlight, and seriously considered giving up acting. At 17, his versatility earned him the role of Jack “Cowboy” Kelly in the Disney musical Newsies.  Christian had actually committed to the role before the film became a musical. In his next roles, Little Women, 1994, and Metroland, 1997, his career began to accelerate.


Literary roles

Christian’s roles were frequently adaptations of literary works. He performed in a small part in Kenneth Branagh’s version of Shakespeare’s Henry V. In the adaptation of Little Women, he was cast in the supporting role opposite Winona Ryder, who played Jo March. Kenneth Branagh brought Christian back for a larger role, as Demetrius, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999.)


Into the Mainstream – marked by transformations

Christian dropped more than 60 pounds to play an emaciated factory worker in his role in The Machinist (2004) only to gain back nearly 90 pounds of muscle for his starring role as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, 2005, and the successful 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight.  He then developed a chiseled physique for his role as the preppy serial killer in American Psycho (2000.)


Millennial Roles
The actor has co-starred in a variety of roles, including being cast as John Rolfe, Pocahontas’ husband, in The New World (2005.) He played a magician alongside Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006) and portrayed Bob Dylan in the 2007 experimental  film entitled I’m Not There.


Awards and Nominations

Beyond his original remarkable awards as a child actor, Christian has been singled out for his performances time and time again, receiving dozens of nominations and awards.  He received a Golden Globe in 2011 for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, for his portrayal of a former boxer in The Fighter, and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Screen Actors Guild award for this role as well.  He won the People’s Choice Award as Favorite Superhero for his role in The Dark Knight. And now, Christian Bale is nominated for a 2014 Oscar as Best Actor for his role in American Hustle.