Saying the 2010s were a life-changing decade for Benedict Cumberbatch might be an understatement. It was in the last 10 years that his career took an unexpected turn and decided to turn him from a working actor into a Marvel superhero, Oscar nominee, Emmy and BAFTA-winning A-List superstar. Although Benedict is a private person, his personal life seems to have gone the same way: it was on the second half of this decade that Benedict got engaged and married to Sophie Hunter, having three children.
And that’s why we decided to make a Decade in Review. Because this decade was so important to Benedict and he has done and conquered so much that we think it should be celebrated and remembered as it deserves. We’ll focus on the most important bits so the posts won’t get too long, but we hope its intended purposes are met and that we all cherish all those unforgettable moments that probably had been important not only to him but to the fans as well.
It will be divided into two posts. On this one, we’ll cover the second half of the decade, from 2015 to 2019, and talk about his most well known projects like his theatre work with the record-breaking Hamlet; his journey on the MCU as Doctor Strange, his work as a producer on both TV and cinema with The Current War and The Child in Time; the final series of Sherlock and both his best performances to date: in The Hollow Crown: The War of The Roses and Patrick Melrose, with the last one earning him his first BAFTA after 8 nominations and 14 years.
Missed the first post? You can read it here.
2015 started with so many things happening at once it’s difficult to focus on one thing at a time. Right on its first week, the filming for The Abominable Bride, a Sherlock special episode which would take the characters to the original Victorian era of the novels, started in the UK. To keep promoting The Imitation Game at the award season, Benedict and Sophie kept flying back and forth between Los Angeles and London to attend a few events. It was also around that time that it was announced they were expecting their first child, a long-time dream of Benedict.
If that wasn’t enough, it was still January when Benedict got his first Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category for his work as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. In the next weeks, the actor skipped a few award season events to work on Sherlock, attending only the ones in London, such as the BAFTAs. Benedict and Sophie got married on the 14th of February in an private and intimate ceremony, with both of them showing up newly-married at the Academy Awards one week later. Benedict lost the Oscar to Eddie Redmayne, but seemed to enjoy the night alongside his now spouse.
In the following months, Benedict promoted the car brand MG, hosted the Laureus World Sports Awards in China and did a cameo in Zoolander 2, in a role that later was revealed to be a worldwide famous non-binary model called All.
After a few quiet months, following the birth of the Cumberbatches’ first child, Benedict finally returned to stage in Hamlet, a successful play that was later live-streamed on movie theaters across the world, breaking records for NT Live performances and becoming the highest-grossing event cinema opening of the year, even taking the top spot of the box office in the UK and Ireland on the second week of October.
Later, Benedict helped promote Black Mass as best as he could while working on Hamlet. He did a few press junkets, attented The Graham Norton Show and then attended with Sophie the premiere of the movie at the BFI London Film Festival.
After Hamlet’s 3-month run (from 5th August to 31st October), Benedict flew right away to Nepal to start filming Doctor Strange, receiving a warm welcome from local fans. After a few days, Benedict flew back to London and received his CBE for his contributions to the arts and charitable organizations from the hands of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He spent the rest of the year working on Doctor Strange in London.
The year started with Sherlock day! Again, on the First of January, the BBC aired the Sherlock special, The Abominable Bride, which took the characters to the Victorian era.
In the first half of the year, Benedict kept a low profile, still busy with Doctor Strange and his personal life, now that he was a new father. In March, he attended a few stage presentations of Letters Live and had a cameo in the special Shakespeare Live, to celebrate 500 years of Shakespeare. Speaking of cameos, Zoolander 2 was released around that time with Benedict’s All not taking the lead characters’ prejudices regarding their gender very well.
Later on, the actor was seen filming Doctor Strange for two days in New York City, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen, which happened to be the last scenes they had to film for the movie. A few weeks later, the actor was back in London to start working on the much-anticipated fourth series of Sherlock. The filming took place in the UK from April to July.
Meanwhile, BBC Two aired the second series of The Hollow Crown, titled The Wars of the Roses, in which Benedict Cumberbatch deliciously played the despicable Richard III, giving us one of his finest performances to date.
The first half of the year ended with the actor promoting Doctor Strange and Sherlock at San Diego Comic Con. His 40th birthday was beautifuly celebrated on the set of Sherlock, with fireworks provided by the VFX team.
In September, Benedict, well, Benedict was Benedict and unexpectedly joined David Gilmour on stage during one of his concerts to sing one of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits, “Comfortably Numb”. Later, Benedict attended the Sherlocked Con in London, arriving by helicopter and spending the day with fans and co-stars.
October was the busiest month of the year. Benedict traveled the world to promote Doctor Strange. He went to Hong Kong and Shanghai, attending premieres and press conferences there, giving many interviews and attending a fan meeting. Later, he went to the USA to attend attended not only the press conferences and press junkets that took place in Los Angeles but also the world premiere of the movie with Sophie, looking beautiful and with some lovely news: Sophie was expecting their second child!
The next stop was Europe, where Benedict attended fan events, photocalls and premieres both in London and Berlin. Meanwhile, he appeared on many magazines, even getting a much-anticipated Vanity Fair cover story which included a new, gorgeous photoshoot.
In November, Benedict kept promoting Doctor Strange, this time in New York. He gave interviews on talk shows, attended a premiere and hosted Saturday Night Live! for the first time, with Solange Knowles as the musical guest.
Since Benedict just can’t stop, after promoting a Marvel movie he went back to England to… start shooting a new movie. The principal photography for The Current War began in 2016. And when he wasn’t on set, Benedict also appeared in a few events, including a screening of the first episode of the next series of Sherlock. The next year, surely was looking quite promising!
2017 started with a bang. The first day of the year brought us “The Six Thatchers”, first episode of the much awaited fourth series of Sherlock. “The Lying Detective” was a highlight, and “The Final Problem” signaled the series finale for the foreseeable future. While we bid the detective in the funny hat farewell, Benedict was busy shooting The Current War and doing several interviews and videos to promote the Doctor Strange DVD and Blu-ray release. And speaking of being busy, two important projects in Benedict’s career were announced almost simultaneously: The Child in Time, an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s bestseller and first Sunnymarch production after Little Favour; and Patrick Melrose, based on Edward St Aubyn’s acclaimed novels, whose title character had always been on his bucket list. The loveliest news of the first months of 2017, however, was the birth of Benedict and Sophie’s second son in March.
Benedict went on to receive his sixth nomination in the BAFTA TV Awards (seventh in the BAFTAs) for his outstanding performance as leading actor as King Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, which he sadly lost. In the next weeks, he was seen a few times shooting The Child in Time in the streets of London. May was a considerably slower month in the news department, a tiny break on his schedule that didn’t last long: by June, he was in Atlanta filming Avengers: Infinity War.
Filming continued in the city for a few more days into July. In the meantime, he scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his work on Sherlock (which itself received other 3 nominations). In the same week, he joined the Avengers: Infinity War cast on the D23 stage to present the film’s first teaser trailer. The month ended with the London Film & Comic Con, where he met fans, took pictures with them and talked about current and future projects.
August kicked off with Letters Live‘s first-ever shows at the Wilderness Festival. Not much happened later that month, but that was just the calm before the storm since September arrived with The Current War‘s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and The Child in Time‘s release and press junket. October was a mostly slower month in the news department until its last few days when Benedict took part in Bloomberg’s Tradebook Charity Day alongside his good friend Siobhán Hewlett and then started shooting Patrick Melrose in London and Scotland. The shootings carried out into November, when the first teaser for the show was released. The month also brought a new photoshoot and interview of Benedict by Thom Yorke for Interview magazine and the first full-length trailer of Avengers: Infinity War.
December wrapped up the year with style: Benedict received his first nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Award for Sherlock!
Ah, 2018… What a year it was! Busy B, was busy. The first months were… calm, albeit important! The year started with the news that Benedict is now the new president of LAMDA!! Still, Benedict himself attended a few events, such as a gala event by Jaeger-LeCoultre in Switzerland, a lovely reading of the classical children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea with its late author Judith Kerr, and hosted the Laureus World Sports Awards. But things changed when the promo tour for Avengers: Infinity War kicked off in April.
To promote the movie, Benedict went to fan evens, press junkets, press conferences and premieres in London, Seoul (South Korea), Singapore, and, finally, Los Angeles, where both he and Sophie attended the world premiere alongside the majority of the entire MCU cast.
And considering Benedict was in the US, why not promote…two other different projects? The actor attended the Cinema Con with the cast of Mowgli for a chat at the Warner Bros. panel. Later, he went back to LA to work on promoting his next lead role: The ShowTime/Sky miniseries Patrick Melrose. Benedict attended the premiere and a screening of the show, gave interviews to many American talk shows and took part in the new season of Variety’s Actors on Actors, alongside his long-time friend and former costar Claire Foy.
May was the month we’d been waiting for! Patrick Melrose aired both on the US and the UK (via Showtime and Sky, respectively), giving us a miniseries of astonishing quality and featuring which arguably is the best performance of Benedict’s career so far. To promote the show on his homeland, Benedict attended events and gave many radio interviews. He then went back to the USA, not only to talk about the show but also to be a part of the special Letters Live events that took place in New York. Around that time, it was announced that Benedict would star as Dominic Cummings in Channel 4’s then untitled TV movie about Brexit and as Greville Wynne in the espionage thriller Ironbark.
The next month started with the news that Benedict had saved a Deliveroo cyclist from getting attacked by mugglers in London, back in 2017. When asked about it by the UK press, Benedict replied with a “I’m no hero”. Months later, he talked about it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Also in June, Benedict started shooting Brexit, which required the most drastic change in appearance he had ever done for a role: he shaved most of his hair to better portray a balding Dominic Cummings. Between shoots, Benedict attended the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, getting honored by receiving the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts award.
Patrick Melrose earned five nominations at the Emmys, including for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie and Outstanding Miniseries. In preparation for the award ceremony and to talk about all the work that went into the production, Benedict gave many interviews to the American press, and he even confirmed that he would attend the event in September. And so he did! Even though Benedict lost the award to Darren Criss, he didn’t end the day without showing what a winner he is. Not only he had Sophie Hunter by his side, gorgeous as always, but it was announced the lovely news that they were expecting baby number 3!
Busy B was Busy, we said? Right after the Emmys, Benedict started shooting Ironbark. To the sadness of half of his fandom (and the happiness of the other half, we gotta admit), he was seen spotting a real mustache. Later on, Benedict and his mustache went on a promo tour for The Grinch. Between London and New York, the actor attended the usual press junkets, gave radio interviews and attended a premiere for the movie. This time he was interviewed by many children, which resulted in lovely videos and interviews.
The year came to an end with Mowgli finally getting released by Netflix (it had been revealed that the streaming service bought the distribution rights for the movie), almost five years after its original announcement. The star-studded production directed by Andy Serkis gave us Benedict’s second motion capture performance, this time as the villain Shere Khan.
2019 has been a much slower year. It started with Brexit: The Uncivil War airing on Channel 4 in the UK and on HBO in the US. Busy filming Ironbark, Benedict was barely seen in the first half of the year, showing up only a handful of times like when he jumped into a cold lake for Red Nose Day.
Throughout the year, Benedict was announced in different projects, with small but important roles. He was cast: as Satan in the miniseries Good Omens, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s homonymous novel, starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen; in 1917, a WWI epic directed by Sam Mendes; as himself in Between Two Ferns: The Movie and as Daddy in Channel 4’s adaptation of The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Things got fun when he and Sophie attended the Avengers: Endgame world premiere in Los Angeles. Weeks later, both of them were seen in New York having the time of their lives at the MET Gala.
However, arguably the highlight of the year happened almost one week later. Benedict and Sophie went to the TV BAFTAs in London, to support Patrick Melrose, which was nominated to several awards. And to our delight, it not only won the award for Best Mini-Series, but Benedict won his first BAFTA for Best Leading Actor! After 7 nominations (8, including the one at the BAFTA Film Awards), 14 years since his first one, Benedict looked shocked when his name was announced. After being hugged by an emotional and tear-eyed Sophie Hunter, Benedict stepped onto the stage and accepted his long-deserved and much-waited trophy.
The thing is: no BAFTA could have prepared him for the HORROR of hitting Michelle Obama with a ball. As he played dodgeball with a star-studded group during a sketch for The Late Late Show with James Corden, Benedict looked horrified after hitting the former First Lady. At least it was fun, right?
It was in July that the San Diego Comic Con happened, with the Marvel panel taking place the day after Benedict’s 43rd birthday. Welcomed by a crowd who sang him happy birthday, the actor, alongside director Scott Derrickson, announced Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to the Doctor Strange movie released in 2016. Scheduled to start shooting in 2020, the movie will hit theaters in May 2021.
In the following month, it was announced that Claire Foy had joined him in Louis Wain, a movie that had been announced in 2014 but was scheduled to start shooting this year. Filming took place between August and October in the UK and Benedict was spotted on set several times.
In October, The Current War finally hit theaters in the US and to promote the movie, Benedict attended a premiere and gave many interviews about it. The highlight of the press tour was certainly the BuzzFeed puppy interview.
In November, he attended a screening of 1917 and also The Fayre of St James, a charity Christmas concert. In this event, Benedict read a text he himself wrote. According to Evening Standard‘s Magda Ibrahim, Benedict said at the event that the text was an extract from a book he’s writing. Neither Benedict nor his team have officially said anything on the matter.
And that’s all! We do hope you liked our special and got the chance to remember (or relive) all those incredible moments. Here’s to 2020 and to another decade full of surprises and incredible performances. These past ten years have been a joy and we can’t wait to see what Benedict does next! Hopefully, we’ll continue following his career together for many years to come!
We wish you happy holidays and an incredible new year!