Oscar Actors: Owen, Clive–Closer

Best Supporting Actor nominee, Closer (2004)

Clive Owen has taken the big screen by storm, making quite a name for himself in the U.K., the United States and around the world. With his captivating performance in the title role of Mike Hodges’ sleeper hit Croupier, critics have compared him to the likes of Bogart, Mitchum, and Connery.

In 2005 that he proved himself a screen star by winning a Golden Globe and picking up an Academy Award nomination for his role as Larry in Mike Nichols’ Closer, which also starred Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman.


The British actor first came onto the scene in several British and American TV films. In 1991 he starred in his first big hit, the U.K. television series “Chancer.” He then went on to prove himself to American audiences starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in Jack Gold’s CBS telefilm adaptation of “The Return of the Native.” More recently, he starred as detective Ross Tanner in the BBC mini-movie “Second Sight,” which aired on PBS’s “Mystery!”  Owen’s other U.K. telefilm credits also include Andrew Grieve’s “Lorna Doone,” Andy Wilson’s “An Evening with Gary Lineker,” Diarmuid Lawrence’s “The Echo,” and David Blair’s “Split Second.”


Feature Debut


Owen’s early feature films truly outline his versatility as an actor.  He made his film debut in Beeban Kidron’s Vroom in 1988 ,in which he restores a classic-American car to take off on the road with costar David Thewlis. 


Then, in 1991, he went on to play a brother who acts upon his incestuous feelings in Stephen Poliakoff’s Close My Eyes.  Later, in 1997, he continued to play complex characters as he stars as a reckless homosexual in corrupt pre-war Germany who finds unconditional love while in a Nazi war camp in Sean Mathias’ 1997 Bent.  In 2001 and 2002 respectively, he went on to star in Joel Hershman’s offbeat British comedy, Greenfingers and Robert Altman’s star studded Gosford Park.


He chose Beyond Borders, a romantic war drama co-starring Angelina Jolie; Mike Hodges’ thriller, I’ll Sleep When I Am Dead, the action war drama, King Arthur; and Sin City, which co-starred Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba.


Owen was seen in 2005 in Derailed opposite Jennifer Aniston and went on to star in Spike Lee’s Inside Man opposite Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster. In 2006, Owen starred in Alfonso Cuaron’s action-packed film Children of Men opposite Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.  The film was critically acclaimed, as well as Owen’s performance.  In Michael Davis’s Shoot Em Up, he starred opposite Paul Giamatti as a man who must save a newborn baby from a gang of shooters. 


Owen followed this performance with a period piece Elizabeth: The Golden Age.  He portrayed Sir Walter Raleigh, the love interest opposite Cate Blanchett, who reprised her role as Elizabeth. 


Owen starred in Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity opposite Julia Roberts, and appeared in The Boys are Back in Town, shot in Australia.


Owen is also an acclaimed stage actor.  His stage work includes portraying Romeo at the Young Vic, starring in Sean Mathias’ staging of Noel Coward’s “Design for Living,” and playing the lead role in Patrick Marber’s original production of “Closer” at the Royal National Theater in 1997.


In the fall of 2001, he starred in London in Lawrence Boswell’s staging of Peter Nichols’ “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.”


Owen also starred as The Driver in the series of BMW internet short features entitled “The Hire,” each directed by John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.