Benedict Cumberbatch was enjoying himself at the SAG Awards. I mean that sincerely, no side-eye. Every time I caught a glimpse of him in the audience, he was smiling and laughing, sitting at the 12 Years a Slave table but making time for his August: Osage County co-stars, too. It had to feel nice, being a double nominee as part of the 12 Years and Osage County ensembles—it’s a positive footnote to the year that didn’t go quite as originally planned— and he was having fun being there.
Cumberbatch has hit the sweet spot and he seems to know it. He’s well known enough that the top-tier filmmakers and actors want to work with him and he has his pick of good projects, and he’s famous enough to have a large and passionate fanbase, but since he’s still primarily internet famous, he can, for the most part, enjoy his day-to-day life uninterrupted. He’s right at the high end of That Guy fame, which, if I was an actor, is where I’d want to live. Enough juice to choose your own projects, decent paychecks, recognized often enough to fill that sinking pit of despair and self-loathing that drives all entertainers but not so frequently as to ruin your life—being a That Guy should be the goal.
But that window is rapidly closing for The Batch. Every last gesture and moment from the SAGs has been screen-capped and shot across the internet, plastering everything from Tumblr to mainstream sites, and he covers the current Entertainment Weekly as Sherlock returns to PBS (we’re talking “The Empty Hearse” on Cinesnark).
2013 was the breakout year that didn’t quite come together, but he’s getting more chances in 2014. With more Sherlock, the final installment of The Hobbit franchise, and another bit of award bait with The Imitation Game expected later this year, it’s only a matter of time before Cumberbatch makes the leap from internet famous to real-world celebrity.
Attached – Cumberbatch speaking at the Producers Guild Awards last night