Foxx is one of the most prolific African-American entertainers of the last two decades. Foxx first established a reputation as a popular comedian, and then combined his status to launch a successful acting career. Born Eric Bishop in the small town of Terrell, Texas, on December 13, 1967, Foxx was raised by his grandparents after his parents separated. He enjoyed a happy upbringing, going to church every day with his grandparents and excelling at everything from academics to music to football. During his teen years he had his first taste of the entertainment business as his church's choir director and music director, and also started his own R&B band. Foxx studied music while a student at the U.S. International University in San Diego; it was during his college days that he got his start as a stand-up comedian. Attending a comedy club one night with some friends, he was encouraged to take the stage and perform some impersonations, which proved incredibly popular with the audience. Foxx's enthusiastic reception led to his decision to move to L.A. and pursue a comedy career. At the age of 22 he was hired for In Living Color, and he subsequently landed a recurring role on Charles Dutton's sitcom Roc. Foxx was ultimately given his own show in 1996; that same year, he appeared in a supporting role in The Truth About Cats and Dogs, which cast him as a friend of Ben Chaplin. He was also featured in the boxing satire The Great White Hype, and the following year he got star billing opposite fellow comedian Tommy Davidson in the poorly received comedy Booty Call. After playing a DJ in Ice Cube's The Players Club (1998), Foxx earned some of his best reviews to date for his role in Any Given Sunday (1999). He subsequently returned to straight comedy, starring in Antoine Fuqua's crime comedy Bait as an ex-con trying to mend his ways, and as a man caught in a convenience stored robbery in Held Up. In 2001, Foxx was given an opportunity to again flex the dramatic chops he displayed in Any Given Sunday with a role as Drew 'Bundini' Brown in Michael Mann's biopic Ali. Then, after a role in the barely seen 2003 Sylvester Stallone drama Shade, Foxx embarked on his busiest year yet. 2004 saw him star in no fewer than four films, the most noteworthy of them being the thriller Collateral. The tense summer flick not only saw Foxx again under the direction of Mann, but cast on an equal level with Hollywood uber-star Tom Cruise. His turn as a hapless cab driver who is forced into a menacing partnership slowly advancing Foxx's dramatic screen presence, the role served as proof to many that his talents extended well beyond what many may have suspected. When it was announced shortly thereafter that Foxx would be donning the trademark sunglasses to essay the role of legendary blues pianist Ray Charles in Director Taylor Hackford's eagerly anticipated biopic Ray, it was only a matter of time before audiences found out how deep Foxx's talents as an actor truly ran. So effective was Foxx in recreating Charles' unique style and unmistakable visage that many critics speculated an Oscar nomination may be in calling for the one-time funnyman turned dramatic powerhouse.
Jamie Foxx: All About Image
Apparently, 2005 is the year of the Foxx--Jamie Foxx.
The Oscar-, Golden Globe- and SAG Award-winning Ray star collected even more hardware at Saturday's 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards, taking home trophies for Outstanding Actor for his turn in the Ray Charles biopic and Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie for Redemption.
"This has been an absolute wonderful ride," Foxx said, as he accepted his Ray award from presenters Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll.
"Thank you, Taylor Hackford, for having the vision on this beautiful movie of Ray Charles. You took a chance in Hollywood. They said this was a black film...but he stuck to his guns for 15 years."
The Image Awards celebrate the best and brightest of the year's accomplishments in film, television, music and books by and about people of color. This year's ceremony was hosted by Chris Tucker and taped for broadcast on Mar. 25.
The multi-nominated biopic about the late Ray Charles captured a leading four of the seven awards it was up for: Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Actor for Foxx, Best Actress for Kerry Washington and Best Supporting Actress for Regina King.
"I am so proud to be a part of this film, and I want to thank the NAACP," Washington said in her acceptance speech. "In these times, we need the NAACP more than ever, because we are in a time when so many of our rights as people of color, as women and as poor people are in danger of being stripped from us."
An absent Morgan Freeman was awarded Outstanding Supporting Actor for his turn as a sage ex-boxer in Million Dollar Baby.
For the first time ever, the NAACP bestowed an Image Award on an Outstanding Foreign or Independent Film, tapping Woman Thou Art Loosed, about a woman on death row, for the inaugural honor.
Ray Charles, who passed away three months after he was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame last year, was clearly still a presence at this year's ceremony. In addition to the accolades heaped upon Ray, Genius: A Night for Ray Charles nabbed the award for Outstanding Variety Series.
Other small-screen honorees included The Bernie Mac Show, which picked up Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for Bernie Mac and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Camille Winbush.
Taye Diggs won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for Kevin Hill and Nia Long took home the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for Third Watch.
On a musical note, Alicia Keys was a two-time winner, nabbing both Outstanding Music Video and Outstanding Song for "If I Ain't Got You." Kanye West won Outstanding New Artist for The College Dropout and Usher won Outstanding Male Artist for Confessions.
American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino won Outstanding Female Artist for Free Yourself and Destiny's Child took home Outstanding Group for Destiny Fulfilled.
Prince, who took the stage to perform, was also a double winner, taking home the Vanguard Award and Outstanding Album for Musicology.
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois received the Chairman's Award.
"There is an element of show business to politics," Obama said. "But I think it's important to remind ourselves that what's at stake in our politics is more than just image."
Oprah Winfrey, the reigning Queen of Daytime, was this year's inductee to the Image Awards Hall of Fame.
Civil rights honours for film Ray
Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of late musician Ray Charles. The Ray Charles biopic Ray has won four awards from a US black civil rights group, including an outstanding actor prize for Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.
Ray was named this year's outstanding movie at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ceremony in Los Angeles. Actresses Kerry Washington and Regina King were also praised for their roles.
Singer Alicia Keys took home two trophies for outstanding song and music video for her hit If I Ain't Got You.
Foxx, who also won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for his portrayal of the late music legend, said: "This has been an absolute wonderful ride."
Fellow Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman won the NAACP Image award for his supporting role in the film Million Dollar Baby.
Kanye West was named outstanding new artist for his album College Dropout, while Grammy-winner Usher was honoured as outstanding male artist.
Prince received the Vanguard award and performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion event, as did American Idol winner Fantasia, who was named outstanding female.
Actor Chris Tucker hosted the 36th annual ceremony, which honours ethnic performers in film, television, literature and music.
The art & soul of Jamie Foxx
For a good time, call Jamie Foxx.
Critical favorite: Jamie Foxx received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival for his role in the Ray Charles biopic. The actor's rep as the L.A. host with the most is legendary. "I've thrown parties for Puffy, Mya, Tweet, Jay-Z," he says, ticking off an elite fleet of uni-monikered guests. "They've all been at my house."
But it's partying with a purpose, insists Foxx, who takes his cues from the original player himself, Hugh Hefner, and his long-defunct late-night TV show Playboy After Dark.
"I've had Brian McKnight singing Justin Timberlake songs that he's written at my house," he says. "Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston doing karaoke. It's one thing to go out to lose yourself and get crazy. It's another thing if you go out to enrich people that are around you."
He did plenty of enriching at the recent film festival here, where he inspired a standing ovation with the world premiere of his Ray Charles biopic, Ray.
Local papers delighted in reporting how Foxx caused a drought of Cristal while out on the town with his pals, rang up a $13,000 tab at one hot spot and, at a hip-hop event, joined in on a raucous rendition of Splish Splash with Kevin Spacey, who channels crooner Bobby Darin in his own biopic, Beyond the Sea.
All the better to spread the word about his movie, Foxx says. "Everything to me is fun, but at the same time, we had a plan with it."
That plan could lead to Oscar glory for this versatile entertainer.
The stand-up comic and alum of the skit series In Living Color, best known for dressing up in drag as ugly Wanda, is in great demand to host TV events, such as awards shows on MTV and ESPN. On Oct. 8, he will emcee an all-star concert in honor of Charles, who died at age 73 in June. The concert will air on CBS on Oct. 22, a week before Ray opens nationwide.
He also can mimic just about any celebrity you can name, even doing a dead-on impression of Collateral cohort Tom Cruise being politely evasive during an interview.
Bring up the most notorious of Foxx's "urban comedies," 1997's Booty Call, and you'll be treated to Bill Cosby's actual admonishment to the actor about the raunchy romp: "Now I don't understand why you do movies like that —Booty Call— what booty are you calling? When's the last time you've ever called someone's booty? Please explain this to me."
Talent to spare
Much like Charles himself, who conquered jazz, blues, soul, gospel, pop and country with equal flair, Foxx is adept at defying expectations and crossing genre lines. But the supremely likable guy does have a failing that haunts him: He can't bowl.
It's the rare skill that Foxx, who has been a high-school football star, accomplished classical pianist, more-than-OK singer, king of his own WB sitcom and predicted Academy Award nominee-to-be, doesn't possess.
"That's the one thing that I really feel bad that I can't do, and people challenge me on that," he says, as he recalls past gods of the alley. "I used to watch Earl Anthony, left-handed with the red ball."
So the sport of suds guzzlers turns out to be Foxx's Achilles' heel. Good thing he headlines in Ray instead of Earl.
Yes, you could easily dredge up that showbiz saw and say Foxx, 36, was born to play the musical giant. Why not, given that the rhythm-infused, epic-long account isn't bashful about stooping to a storytelling cliché or two as it chronicles how a dirt-poor blind orphan from the segregated South overcame such barriers and changed the course of popular music forever.
They include the standard but enjoyable a-classic-song-is-born moments. The Genius of Soul, forced to fill time during a club date, improvises the sexy moan-and-groan jam What'd I Say. Later, his mistress and backup singer Margie Hendrix, angry and miserable with morning sickness, inspires his righteously bitter musical kiss-off Hit the Road Jack.
Besides, Brother Ray himself insisted that director Taylor Hackford tell the truth, no matter how downbeat — the heroin addiction, cold-hearted business dealings and rampant womanizing that compromised his marriage — as well as celebrate the more up-tempo memories.
The truth is, you can't imagine another human being who could don the shades, pound the keys and smile that joyous smile with as much authority and power as Foxx. The transformation is seamless.
"When you make a biography, you live or die by the person who plays the lead role," says Hackford, who began his feature career with 1980's The Idolmaker, a tribute to early pop idols.
Foxx first caught his eye in supporting roles in dramas, as a cocky third-string quarterback in Any Given Sunday and as balding ring man Bundini Brown in Ali. But despite Foxx's physical resemblance to Charles, Hackford wasn't convinced he could pull it off.
"He hadn't carried a movie yet. We met, and I told him how difficult it was going to be to lip sync and everything else. As for the piano, I told him someone else would do it. He said, 'You don't have to do that. I play the piano.' I said, 'I play the piano, too, but we're not Ray Charles.' "
That's when Foxx explained how he started playing when he was 3, led the gospel choir in his church and went to university on a piano scholarship. Says a duly impressed Hackford, "I stopped looking."
Then there's the dedication factor. "His style sometimes belies his commitment," says the filmmaker, nursing his hoarseness with hot tea after a night of revelry with Foxx.
"I told him that to understand Ray Charles, he needed to cover his eyes and go blind," Hackford says. "Most actors would say, 'Yeah, I'll do that for a day.' Jamie went blind for the whole film."
During the shoot, Foxx wore prosthetic devices that obscured his vision.
"I hyperventilated for the first week and a half," he recalls. "You feel like you're being closed up. I got used to it, but other people didn't. They would say, 'Lunch, everybody,' and everybody would leave and forget I couldn't get up and walk around."
He also dropped 30 pounds, mainly muscle, to gain a leaner Ray-like physique. Other required attributes came more naturally, such as both men's shared abundance of seductive charm. Foxx has been known to cause the likes of racket-swinging diva Serena Williams to sweat just by serenading her with a silly ditty called Can I Be Your Tennis Ball?
Tight-lipped about the ladies
Foxx hails from the small town of Terrell, Texas, and was adopted by his maternal grandparents when he was 7 months. He says he was raised by his grandmother to be a Southern gentleman.
"I'm still a Southern gentleman," says Foxx, who has been seeing one person off-and-on but is looking for "a classic — you know, a '57 Chevy" before committing to marriage. "I was never shy about talking to a beautiful lady or a person I thought was beautiful inside."
However, Charles, who put him through a daunting side-by-side piano test before giving his approval to the casting (Says Foxx: "He stood up, hugged himself and said, 'The kid's got it!'") was reluctant to detail his romantic encounters.
"I asked him, 'Ray, did you have a lot of women when you were playing music?' He answered (Foxx puts on his raspy Charles voice), 'Ah, no. You don't meet a lot of women.' I said, 'You don't meet a lot of women?' 'Well, there was this one girl ... ' One girl? Please."
As the musician's backup trio, The Raeletts would joke, the singers had to "let Ray."
The actresses who play the women in Charles' life fell hard for Foxx. "I think Jamie is just a generous fellow," says Kerry Washington, who brings a steadfast sweetness to Ray's wife, Della Bea. "He knows how to love and loves big."
Regina King, who puts a tigress in backup singer Margie's tank, has acted opposite Will Smith, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. But she puts Foxx on a whole other plane.
"Not to say that those guys aren't truly talented and incredible," she says. "But Jamie is the most talented. I've never worked with anyone who has the ability to turn it on and off within a second. He can literally be telling you a joke, then 'action,' and he would just fall into Ray."
Foxx doesn't put on any false modesty when it comes to the Oscar talk that has been buzzing around him. He could just as well be nominated for his supporting part as a quiet cabbie who turns hero in summer's Collateral.
"If you play basketball, you want to go to the championship," he says. "If you play hockey, you want to go to the playoffs. It's something that you welcome and that you want because it brings more attention to the movie."
It might also make Foxx the third black actor to win for a lead role, a sign that such recognition might become less historic and more commonplace than when Denzel Washington was honored for 2001's Training Day and Sidney Poitier took the trophy for 1963's Lilies of the Field.
Ultimately, any success that the film enjoys will be a tribute to the continuing legacy of Charles, who didn't live long enough to experience the finished product but did read the script in Braille.
"That was tough," says Foxx about hearing that Charles had died. "We had information he wasn't doing well. He was out of sight for about three or four months, and he didn't want to be seen. A very strong, proud man. My grandfather passed when I was 17, and I'll never forget doing CPR on him at about 3 in the morning and thinking that life and death are so close to each other. To have that happen to Ray kind of opened up the same emotion."
At least the man has a testament to his talent in Ray. And he may prevent Foxx from ever having to appear in another Booty Call.
Although the actor, always thinking, does have another comic idea in mind.
"I could do a Wanda movie with Martin Lawrence and his female character, a Thelma and Louise thing. You know how they have these 'versus' movies, like Alien vs. Predator? Jason vs. Freddy? We could do Wanda vs. Sheneneh. It would be hysterical."
And, most important, "We'll get Bill Cosby to bless it."
What now hot Jamie Foxx?
The actor will have to hustle to maintain his Oscar momentum. Jamie Foxx is sitting atop the world today, and why shouldn't he be? After starring in such rubbish as “Held Up” and the ignominious “Booty Call,” he's now an Academy Award-winning actor, honored for his spot-on performance as the great Ray Charles in “Ray.”
The Oscar win puts Foxx in the rarefied company of not only Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, the other black performers to win lead-actor awards, but also in the exclusive club of Spencer Tracy, Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks.
Still, unless you're Martin Scorsese, winning an Oscar is the easy part. Sustaining a meaningful career afterward is something else entirely.
Trinkets, even the most coveted ones in Hollywood, glitter and fade on mantels or grow dusty in fancy glass cases.
They do not guarantee longevity, and they do not presage a filmography filled with worthwhile and memorable roles.
Just ask Cuba Gooding Jr., winner of an Academy Award in 1997 for his supporting role in “Jerry Maguire.” All he has done since is make such unwatchable movies as “Snow Dogs” and “Boat Trip.” Seriously, he should just have his Oscar rescinded. (Gooding's roles were even savaged by the Oscar host, Chris Rock, who joked that “Boat Trip” was so bad that it made him worry about the actor's finances, enough to send him a check for $80.)
There's also Adrien Brody, perhaps best remembered for planting a big ol' kiss on Berry when he won a best-actor award in 2003 for his harrowing performance in the Holocaust-themed drama “The Pianist.” He has done M. Night Shyamalan's disappointing film “The Village” and has the generic-looking thriller “The Jacket” due in theaters today.
And don't even get me started on Nicolas Cage, who seems to have forgotten how to act. He hasn't given a nuanced performance since he won an Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas” in 1996. (No, even though Cage received an Academy Award nomination, his 2002 “Adaptation” doesn't count; it was just more of his tiresome manic shtick.)
Some will speak of a nefarious curse, saying the award has derailed as many careers as it has bolstered and established. Yet what seems to unravel some winners is the misconception that having that naked gold man in their fists makes them professionally bulletproof. Suddenly, they think that they can do no wrong and that every film they choose is a born box-office gem simply because their Academy Award-winning mug is in it.
After Berry's crying-jag acceptance speech, when she became the first black actress to win a leading-role Oscar, it's not hard to imagine she has shed a few more tears over the god-awful choices she has made since. Once the toast of the town, Berry won a Golden Raspberry this year as worst actress for her ill-advised turn in the spectacularly bad “Catwoman.”
To her credit, Berry had the sense of humor to show up to accept the “honor” and stood at the podium with her Oscar in one hand and her Razzie in the other. Her speech riffed on the film, her cast mates and her own greatly lacking performance. But Berry also hit upon an unspoken truth when she said, “When you fail after you have an Oscar, you fall even harder because you've been put on such a pedestal.
“When you would fall before, nobody would notice, and you'd get up and dust yourself off and you'd be back in the game. But after you win, I think it's a curse, so it's actually good that I'm getting a Razzie this year, because now I'm back at the bottom. The expectation has been taken off me.”
Hilary Swank could have given that very speech when she won her second best actress award Sunday for “Million Dollar Baby.” After winning in 2000 for her devastating performance in “Boys Don't Cry,” Swank made “The Core” (2003) and “The Gift” (2000), and many dismiss
ed her as an Oscar one-off. The next step for her seemed to be a bad sitcom until she delivered yet another shattering performance, proving she is a talent to be reckoned with.
That's the example Jamie Foxx needs to follow. So far, mostly good — he has signed on to co-star in the war drama “Jarhead,” but then it's on to the film version of “Miami Vice.”
Yes, this is his moment for eight-figure paychecks and first-look scripts, but it's also the time for him to choose his future roles carefully, even as he basks in his Oscar glory. Even with talent to burn, there are no guarantees. Foxx can either fashion a career as respected as Poitier's or risk becoming a punch line like Gooding.
The Year of The Foxx; Jamie Foxx Gets 2 Oscar Nods
Comedian turned serious actor Jamie Foxx received two nods in today Oscar nominee announcements. Jamie is up for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of the legendary Ray Charles in the movie "Ray". He is up against Don Cheadle, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Clint Eastwood. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Collateral".
Another notable nominee announcement in the Best Documentary Feature category was the film "Tupac: Resurrection". The film gives a snapshot into the life and times of the late Tupac Shakur.
Jamie ‘Ray’ Foxx favorite for Oscar
Actor Jamie Foxx is the favorite contender for winning this year’s ‘Best Actor’ Oscar.
“Jamie, you didn’t play Ray. You actually became Ray,” said actor Lawrence Fishbourne about Foxx’s portrayal of the blind singer-musician Charles Ray in the movie ‘Ray’.
Foxx looks all poised to walk away with the best actor honors at major award functions this year.
First, he won the Golden Globe in January.
And on Saturday he was again adjudged the best at the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards in Los Angeles.
Now, for the Oscar’s night on Feb 27, Foxx is favored over other nominees – Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Depp and Don Cheadle.
According to a report, British singer Sir Elton John is backing Foxx to scoop the coveted Best Actor Oscar statuette on the big night.
Las Vegas bookmakers are already laying odds on Foxx to win the Oscar.
Besides ‘Ray’, Foxx is also nominated in the best supporting actor category for his role in ‘Collateral’.
Foxx begs Knowles to duet
Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx is desperate to convince R&B beauty Beyonce Knowles to sing a duet with him on his debut album.
Foxx, who is favourite to win Best Actor at next weekend's Oscar ceremony for his performance as the late Ray Charles, is hopeful Destiny's Child singer Knowles will help him launch his music career.
He says: "If I can get Beyonce to work with me it would be brilliant. She's got a great voice."
Jamie Foxx's tattoo just temporary
No, Jamie Foxx does not have the world's biggest birthmark.
You might have noticed something on the back of the star's head as he made the rounds from one Hollywood awards victory to the next lately. Foxx has been wearing a temporary tattoo, an abstract design sported by his character in the upcoming war film, "Jarhead."
With Foxx's hair cut close for his role as a Marine, the tattoo has been highly visible as he accepts awards for the title role in "Ray." Foxx is the favorite to win the best-actor prize at the Academy Awards on Feb. 27.
"Jarhead," which is now filming, is based on the Persian Gulf War memoirs of Anthony Swofford, a Marine who served in a sniper-scouting unit during the 1991 war.
Black performers move into Oscar spotlight
Black comedian and Oscar host-to-be Chris Rock recently confessed he had seldom watched the Academy Awards, except in 2002 when he tuned in to see the historic triumphs of Halle Berry and Denzel Washington.
"Come on, it's a fashion show," he said half-jokingly in a magazine interview. "What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one. And they don't recognise comedy and you don't see a lot of black people nominated, so why should I watch it."
This year he is not only watching but hosting a show in which a record number of minority performers are vying for top honours.
Four blacks – Jamie Foxx, Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman and Sophie Okonedo – and a Latina actress – Colombian native Catalina Sandino Moreno – have amassed a total of six nominations.
And "Ray", the biographical drama about soul music legend Ray Charles, is the first film with a predominantly African American cast to be nominated as best picture since Steven Spielberg's The Colour Purple two decades ago.
Author George Alexander, whose book Why We Make Movies explored the work of black filmmakers, said this year's nominations reflect long-overdue strides blacks have made in Hollywood since Hattie McDaniel broke the Oscar Colour barrier in 1939 with her Academy Award-winning supporting role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
"We're seeing that actors who have enormous talent but who perhaps hadn't had the opportunity to be leading men, have stepped up to the plate and gotten those opportunities, like Jamie Foxx," Alexander told Reuters.
Moreover, black actors are being recognized this year for performances in overtly heroic roles that transcend race.
Foxx, the first African American to garner two nominations in a single year, is considered a favourite to win the best actor prize for his title role in "Ray", playing the legendary musician who overcame blindness, bigotry and drug addiction to become one of America's most beloved entertainers.
"We have been so flooded with so many negative things in our community," Foxx told the Times. "For something positive like this to happen it makes those kids and everybody just say, 'Man, maybe I can do it like Jamie Foxx did."
If he wins, Foxx would be only the third black named best lead actor, following Sidney Poitier for the 1963 film "Lilies of the Field" and Washington three years ago for "Training Day".
Foxx also picked up a nomination as best supporting actor for playing a kidnapped taxi driver opposite Tom Cruise as a contract killer in "Collateral".
In the race for best actor, Foxx faces another black performer nominated for a breakthrough leading role, Cheadle, who in Hotel Rwanda plays as a real-life hotel manager who helped save some 1200 people from mass murder. Okonedo, a British-born newcomer of Nigerian descent, earned a nod as best supporting actress for playing his wife.
The nominations of Foxx and Cheadle for best actor mark only the second time in 77 years of Oscar history that two blacks are competing in that category at the same time. Washington and Will Smith went head to head three years ago.
Regardless of who wins this year, the Oscar attention accorded Foxx and Cheadle is likely to thrust both first-time nominees to the Hollywood forefront.
Meanwhile, veteran actor Freeman is hoping to finally take home a statuette from the fourth Oscar bid of his career, a nomination for his supporting role as the elderly manager of a boxing gym and the voice of reason in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. He previously was nominated for roles as a pimp in Street Smart a chauffeur "Driving Miss Daisy" and a prison inmate in The Shawshank Redemption.
The lone minority actress up for an Oscar this year is the previously unknown Sandino, making her feature film debut as a drug mule in the Spanish-language drama Maria Full of Grace.
Racial diversity has been slow in coming to the Oscars.
It took 10 years after McDaniel's triumph for a second black performer even to be nominated – Ethel Waters for the 1949 racial drama Pinky – and nearly a quarter century for Poitier to win his landmark Oscar for Lilies of the Field.
Only six Oscars have gone to black actors since then, and no more than three had been nominated at once before now.
Part of that is a function of limited opportunities in Hollywood for blacks, who were long been relegated to clownish parts in comedies or to menial and criminal roles in dramas.
Blacks have also fared far worse behind the camera at the Academy Awards. Only one, John Singleton, has been nominated as best director, for Boys N the Hood in 1991.
Best actor belongs to Jamie Foxx
Could Eastwood or DiCaprio slip in and spoil his party?
Around Oscar time, when you hear, “It’s an honor just to be nominated,” believe it this time — at least when it comes from the four candidates in the category of best actor in a leading role who don’t have the last name “Foxx.” It appears the honor alone, and some delicious chow at the Governor’s Ball, will have to suffice.
No other nominee in recent memory in any category seems to have such a vise grip on the statuette as Jamie Foxx does this year for his turn as soul legend Ray Charles in “Ray.” From the first buzz after early screenings, it’s been a one-man race. None of the others need bother wasting paper by composing an acceptance speech.
n a way, it’s too bad. Foxx is uncanny and memorable, to be sure. But the category is crammed with wonderful performances. Clint Eastwood is getting some of the best reviews of his career for his role as boxing trainer Frankie Dunn in “Million Dollar Baby.” Despite early skepticism that he wasn’t right for the part of Howard Hughes, Leonardo DiCaprio more than met the challenge in “The Aviator.” Johnny Depp played writer J.M. Barrie with intelligence and restraint in “Finding Neverland.” Don Cheadle is extraordinary as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in “Hotel Rwanda.”
In fact, the category is so formidable this year it forced out another highly deserving hopeful, Javier Bardem, who was astonishing in “The Sea Inside” as Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic who fought the Spanish courts for the right to die. Bedridden for most of the picture, Bardem’s performance was one of the great and underappreciated achievements of all 2004 releases.
But Foxx’s standing as the rabbit in this race is certainly well-deserved. His is not a performance accomplished by the mimicking of mannerisms or speech patterns. A trained classical pianist himself, Foxx captured Charles’ spirit. He brought layers to the part, as convincing as a determined businessman as he was as a passionate singer of rhythm and blues, as well as a lover, a friend, a musician, a star and a father.
Foxx is a 4-5 favorite to win as best actor (he’s also nominated in the supporting category for “Collateral”) according to one Vegas oddsmaker, 1-2 by another. If he doesn’t win, it’ll be one of the biggest temblors to hit Tinseltown in Oscar history.
But just for laughs, let’s consider the most likely gentleman to spring an upset.
Of the five nominees, Cheadle is the greatest longshot. As usual, it has nothing to do with the quality of his performance and everything to do with the capricious factors associated with perception in Hollywood. Of the five pictures named in this category, it is likely that fewer Academy voters saw “Hotel Rwanda” than the others. It is a true-life account of the actions of a hero who saved over a thousand Tutsis refugees during the Rwandan massacre. But some voters may have skipped it, believing it would be graphic and disturbing rather than moving and inspirational.
“Finding Neverland” also was highly regarded, but seems to have been overshadowed by films with more momentum, especially “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Aviator.” Depp is definitely a darling of the Academy; he was nominated last year for playing Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” a rare acknowledgement of a comic portrayal. His understated showing in “Neverland” serves him well as an also-ran, but doesn’t possess enough muscle to catapult him into frontrunner status.
This is DiCaprio’s second nomination. He was also tabbed in 1993 in the supporting category for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” His performance in “The Aviator” is one of depth and honesty. He has a viable shot at Oscar. If there is a knock, it is the one leveled at “The Aviator” as a whole, and indeed at many of Martin Scorsese’s films: that audiences have a hard time forming an emotional attachment to the main character.
In this particular case, the charge is particularly ludicrous given the man at the center of the story. Hughes was an obsessive-compulsive, a maverick and a lone wolf. People who knew him the best found getting close to him an ordeal. Both Scorsese, DiCaprio and screenwriter John Logan did a brilliant job of capturing the essence of the man. Yet he is still a character kept at several arms’ lengths from moviegoers, and that sometimes results in being impressed by an actor’s performance but not moved by it.
That leaves Clint. He has a few things going for him, not the least of which being his incredible body of work. As an actor, he is probably best known for playing Harry Callahan in the “Dirty Harry” pictures, and as The Man With No Name (although he did have one) in the Sergio Leone Westerns. Despite his illustrious career, he was only nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category once before, in 1993 for “Unforgiven.” He lost out to Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman,” but that film did bring him Oscars for best director and best picture.
Academy voters could reward the 74-year-old Eastwood with an Oscar for best actor to observe his body of work and admit that his talents as a thespian extend far beyond macho guys with guns. And it would acknowledge a performance in a picture that the Academy usually leans toward, one done with elegance and poignancy and that packs an emotional wallop.
But the more likely scenario would be to hand Oscars to Clint again for best director (although there is a considerable sentimental push in that category for Scorsese, who has never won) and best picture.
It appears this Oscar is Jamie Foxx’s to lose. Rather than prepare speeches, the other four nominees might think about pooling their considerable talents and helping Foxx with his.
Foxx knows his cars
Jamie Foxx has gone from ‘Jamie who?’ straight to Hollywood’s A-list, which means the Oscar-nominated actor is willing to tell the press just about anything.
And anything means a tale about being in a bed with five women.
But nothing happened, honest, guv: “We were just watching TV, that's all we did. We watched a nice programme," he said.
Five ladies! The man must be an expert on the opposite sex. So tell us, Foxxy, what’s your big secret?
"You buy a Mercedes, it's brand new. You drive it for a couple of years. Then you see another Mercedes, an updated model, and you think, 'Man! I got to trade this in.' But what you really try to find is that classic,” he droned to the Sun.
Ah, that old analogy of women being like cars.
"You want to find that '57 Chevy or that '67 Corvette that you are going to hold on to for the rest of your life. I am in search of a classic."
Good job he’s got a healthy bank balance, as classic cars tend to be expensive when their parts need replacing.
Jamie Foxx jazzed about 'Miami Vice' movie remake
U.S. film star Jamie Foxx is excited about working with Colin Farrell on a big-screen version of "Miami Vice."
The Oscar-nominated star of "Ray" says he and Irishman Farrell hit it off in meetings with director Michael Mann, World Entertainment News Network reported Wednesday.
"The chemistry between us is already there, like it was with me and Tom Cruise in Collateral, so making this movie is going to be a total blast," said Foxx. "And it's going to redefine cool. You're going to see our Crockett and Tubbs suits and be like, 'I want those.'"
The remake of the hit television series is expected to be released next year.
Jamie Foxx Wins Guild Award for Best Actor
Jamie Foxx’s uncanny re-creation of Ray Charles in Ray earned him the Screen Actors Guild Award for best actor, while Hilary Swank won the best-actress prize for Million Dollar Baby, playing a spirited boxer whose life takes a tragic turn.
The cast prize for best movie ensemble went to the road-trip comedy Sideways.
Cate Blanchett won the supporting-actress honour for her role as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, and Morgan Freeman took the supporting-actor prize for Million Dollar Baby, playing a sage-like ex-prizefighter.
“Thank you for Ray Charles for just living so complex and so interesting, and making us all just come together,” said Foxx, the front-runner to win the best-actor prize at the Academy Awards on February 27.
Addressing his director on Ray, Foxx added: “Thank you for Taylor Hackford for taking a chance with an African-American film. Taylor, you’re my director of the year.”
Swank offered gushing praise for her director and co-star, Clint Eastwood.
“I bow down to you,” Swank said to the 74-year-old Eastwood. “You are a talent beyond compare. If I’m half the person you are and half the talent you are when I’m 74, I will know that I’ve accomplished something great.”
The SAG honours presented the first big head-to-head competition between Swank and Oscar rival Annette Bening, a nominee for the theatre farce Being Julia.
At the Golden Globes, Swank won for best dramatic actress while Bening was honoured for best actress in a musical or comedy.
The two actresses are the front-runners at the Oscars, a rematch of the showdown five years ago, when underdog Swank pulled an upset best-actress win for Boys Don’t Cry over Bening, who had been the favourite for American Beauty.
The wins gave all the actors an Oscar boost just as voting gets under way for Hollywood’s top honours. Oscar ballots were mailed Wednesday to academy members, with voting scheduled to end February 22, five days before the ceremony.
Freeman paid respect to fellow contender James Garner by singing a verse from the theme song of Garner’s old TV Western Maverick. Garner was nominated as supporting actor for the romantic drama The Notebook and received the guild’s lifetime-achievement award.
For dramatic TV series, the late Jerry Orbach won the actor honour for Law and Order. Orbach died in December.
Jennifer Garner earned the dramatic actress honour for Alias, and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” received the dramatic ensemble award for the entire cast.
Tony Shalhoub, star of Monk, won the guild prize for the second straight year as actor in a TV comedy. Teri Hatcher won the TV comedy actress honour for “Desperate Housewives,” which also won the comedy ensemble award.
The 11th annual guild awards provided a warm-up bout for The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby before they fight it out for best-picture at the Oscars. Although Sideways won the guild ensemble honour, The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby are still considered the best bets for the top prize at the Oscars on Feb. 27.
The winner of the SAG cast-performance prize has gone on to receive the top Oscar four times in the nine years since the guild added that category.
Guild nominees were chosen by 4,200 randomly selected union members. The union’s full membership of 98,000 was eligible to vote for winners.