Early Oscar Pronouncement: Forest Whitaker!

155340__forest_lI’ll keep this quick: Forest Whitaker. Oscar nomination. Now! I decree it!

Sorry to get all dictatorial on you, but Whitaker’s work in The Last King of Scotland (the fictional yet all-too-reality-based chronicle of strongman Idi Amin’s Uganda, opening this weekend), is the sort of performance awards are gold-plated for. Working with an excellent foil (James McAvoy, who plays Amin’s louche, cocksure personal physician), Whitaker marshals his protean bulk in quick and unpredictable directions, keeping you off-guard, off balance, seducing you one minute and nauseating you the next . Instead of shying from caricature, Whitaker borrows from it and cannily positions his Amin somewhere between the stereotypical Western perception of a clownish, bloodthirsty African dictator and the more mundane horror of the man himself. He’s playing not just a character but an idea, and he does it with grace.

Mr. Whitaker, please meet Ms. Streep at the Preemptive Prediction table. We’ll be seating your tablemates presently…


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  • Sally

    Will we have another Oscar season of actors impersonating living or dead politicians, actresses, writers, personalities and celebrities? When will we have an Oscar season of originally written characters? From Truman to the Aviator. Are these the ONLY award roles that can be written for actors these days?

  • Ceballos

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…the Oscar nomination will make up for the Emmy nomination he was robbed off as I.A.D. investiagor Jon Kavanaugh in “The Shield”

  • noneya

    he was absolutely ROBBED of an emmy for ‘The Shield’!

  • Todd

    Amen, Ceballos!!!

  • Ceballos

    of*

  • Liz

    I think Forest Whitaker is great. And on an unrelated note (sorry), in today’s Steel Cage thing, I thought House had been moved to 8 on Tuesdays, so it now needs to be up against Gilmore Girls, which is definitely significant in my household.

  • TorontoTom

    Ya, enough of the Oscar going to whichever actor can mimic Ray Charles or June Carter or Idi Amin or Queen ELizabeth. I can predict right now that Whitaker and Helen Mirren will be the front-runners when Oscar season kicks into high gear. I’d rather see Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson or Penelope Cruz for Volver be rewarded for creating a character. Enough!

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    Sally,
    Yeah apparently so because there is no such thing as originality anymore.
    However, Whitaker has come A LONG way from his character Jefferson from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Everyone knows what I am talking about? The characters younger brother “borrows” his car with Jeff Spicoili and gets into a traffic accident. Spicoli makes it look as if the opposing high school football team trashed the car. Whitaker goes psycho and starts violently charging after the team players during the game.
    Whitaker was fantastic in The Crying Game, but from recent the preview I think that this movie is his signature. Hopefully he will be nominated. I can’t predict Oscar winners because Nicolson still has his movie coming out as well.

  • Rahul

    I hope no one forgets Aaron Eckhart in ‘Thank You for Smoking’

  • Freddy

    Kate Winslet in Little Children. Lock.

  • Winn

    Why should an actor be penalized for giving a phenomenal performance as a historical figure? It’s still acting people, and perhaps more difficult than portraying an orginal character, because accusations of caricature and mimicry are just around the corner if your performance is not very carefully nuanced. Whitaker pulls this off; he is fantastic and I would love to see McEvoy recognized in the supporting category as well, as he is a perfect foil and doesn’t allow his character to be blown off the screen by Whitaker’s ferocious work. That said, I agree with the love for Ryan Gosling’s breathtaking work in “Half-Nelson” (he is the best young actor of his generation, bar none)and Aaron Eckhart. Of course, Eckhart’s work in TYFS will probably be overlooked because it seems so effortless and charming, and the subtlety and complexity of his performance will likely be missed by those who keep greenlighting, writing, and casting movies about known quantities.

  • nathan

    Here’s another SURE thing. Helen Mirren in The Queen.

  • will Holston

    Forest Whitaker and Kate Winslet-this year’s winners (unless “Little Children” fails miserably and then it’ll be Helen Mirren)

  • Miles

    YES, YES, YES…. Mr. Whitaker is an incredible actor. I wholly support him in this. Run Forrest RUN to the OSCARS!!!!
    okay, so my list thus far:
    Forest Whitaker is a shoe in for best actor.
    Mery Streep in Devil Wears Prada
    Helen Mirren in the Queen
    Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls
    and best picture hopefuls: Little Children, Flags of our Father and Dreamgirls.
    Oh, i love it when oscar season begins.

  • blackpower

    I can’t stand anything involving Forest Whitaker since he directed the movie “Strapped” in my EAST HARLEM neighborhood but called it Brooklyn! Mad disrespect! Plus I can’t the way he harassed the STRIKE TEAM which resulted in the death of the beloved LEM! NO OSCAR FOR WHITAKER!

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