Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game has wowed critics and raised a serious Oscars buzz. Could it be the Sherlock star's best film performance to date?


Sadly, we won’t know for sure until the film is released on 14th of November – but until then, we’re taking a look back at some of BC’s other film roles to determine the very best of the rest.

This is limited to the movies, mind you, so Sherlock isn’t an option (if only to make the process vaguely fair). Take a look at our quick reminders below then vote for your favourite.

The Hobbit (2013-4): Smaug

Though you won’t see his face, the actor used his luxuriant voice and motion-capture moves to play the monstrous wyrm of Peter Jackson’s second and third Hobbit movies, teaming up with his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, who plays the eponymous Bilbo Baggins.

August: Osage County (2013): Little Charles Aiken

Part of a stellar cast that included Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Cumberbatch still managed to be noticeable in an uncomfortably incestuous subplot in the family drama. And he sings!

The Fifth Estate (2013): Julian Assange

The film wasn’t a huge success, but Cumberbatch still won plaudits for his spot-on rendition of the controversial WikiLeaks founder.

12 Years a Slave (2013): Ford

The “nice” slave owner isn’t exactly the easiest part to play, but Cumberbatch’s nuanced portrayal of the relatively kind Ford in this Oscar-grabbing drama lingers in the mind beyond a lot of the cruelty.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): Khan

Cumberbatch hit the blockbuster big time with this role, which saw him face off against Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk as superhuman soldier Khan. As well as proving his action chops, Cumberbatch played a cold and satisfying villain with believable motivation.

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War Horse (2011): Major Jamie Stewart

While a relatively small role, Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the pompous Major Stewart rammed home the pointlessness and cruelty of war, his mounted men gunned down around him while he watched in disbelief.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Peter Guillam

No character comes out unscathed from Tomas Alfredson’s John le Carre adaptation, but Guillam is particularly distressed by the personal and ideological sacrifices he has to make in pursuit of the truth – to the point of rage and despair, visualised by Cumberbatch in memorable style.

Atonement (2007): Paul Marshall

The full significance of Cumberbatch’s creepy role in this Ian McEwan adaptation isn’t revealed until later, but from the start it's an impressively chilling turn.

Starter for 10 (2006): Patrick Watts

One of his earliest silver screen roles saw Cumberbatch steal the show as an officious University Challenge captain, who’s less than impressed by James McAvoy’s attempts to join the team.

That's the shortlist – but which is your favourite? Vote now.


The Imitation Game will be released in UK cinemas on 14th November