Continued from page 1

Already a hit in Britain, where it opened in September, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” comes into a wide-open Academy Awards season with great buzz for Mr. Oldman’s best-actor prospects.

Oscar contender would be a new role for Mr. Oldman, 53, one of those actors so universally respected you’d figure he must have half a dozen past nominations behind him. But not only has Mr. Oldman never won an Oscar - he’s never been nominated.

“It’s never really bothered me. I just go about my life and my thing and work. And there are moments in careers where the light shines on you, and you recede, you go back into the shadows. There’re ups and downs in a career,” said Mr. Oldman, who likes the sound of his awards chatter.

“I am flattered, to be very truthful. I’m enjoying it. … I’ve heard it before, and it might be my time. I mean, for a nomination. I’d be happy with that.”

Mr. Oldman reprises his role as Police Commissioner Gordon opposite Christian Bale’s Batman in next summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” the finale to director Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed superhero franchise.

Details remain under wraps, but Mr. Oldman gushes about the film.

“I’m sworn to secrecy, and we’re not allowed to really talk about it much. But I can say this much, that the story’s terrific. That he’s going to really go out with a bang,” Mr. Oldman said.

There’s talk of sending Smiley out with another bang. The filmmakers are considering an adaptation of Mr. le Carre’s follow-up novel “Smiley’s People,” possibly incorporating elements of another Smiley adventure, “The Honourable Schoolboy.”

Mr. Oldman said he would love to have another go at Smiley, another chance to take on the “ghost of Guinness.”

“I love the tradition of Guinness and Peter Sellers, those kinds of actors, even Laurence Olivier, I guess. You only have to think of ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets,’ where Guinness, I think, plays seven members of the family, doesn’t he?” Mr. Oldman said.

“You see yourself as part of that tradition, and you’re aspiring to be as great as these people. So he was a hero of mine, and just a big dragon to slay. And at the end of the day, I think he was perhaps there as a friendly ghost.”