The Golden Globe Award nominations were announced today and surprsingly two African-American actors have been picked to compete for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture category: Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.
Whitaker is one of my favorite actors and so I was elated to see his name on the list. His performance in the 1999 film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is shere poetry. I have even written a poem that's partially inspired by the film.
Whitaker has lost a considerable amount of weight recently, but when he played Ghost Dog (the name of his character in the film), he was a hulking piece of work. Despite his size, he moved as gracefully as a martial arts expert. His dance-like movement on the roof when he’s practicing with his katana sword is like watching ballet. You wonder how such a big man can move so effortlessly.
In a completely opposite role, Whitaker plays the delusional Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Amin, who became Uganda’s President from 1971–1979, gained power after overthrowing Milton Obote. He then persecuted and killed upwards of 300,000 people from several ethnic groups. Amin was reportedly a cannibal who ate some of his victims, but Whitaker, who thoroughly researched the part, says those reports have never been proven.
All reviews thus far have raved about Whitaker's powerful performance in the film. I can’t wait to see it. Unfortunately, it’s not showing here in Nashville! A Belcourt Theatre representative said the film will not be shown there and I’m still waiting to hear back from the Nashville Film Festival Artistic Director. (My fingers are crossed!) Let's hope we get a repeat of the 2004 Oscar nominations when Don Cheadle and Jamie Foxx were picked to compete for the Actor in a Leading Role prize.
If The Last King of Scotland is playing in your town—-run, don’t walk to the theatre to see it! I’m sure you won’t be dissappointed.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Here's what the Nashville Film Festival's Artistic Director has to say about the film coming to Nashville;
From what I understand the film probably will come to Nashville between now and Oscar time. The distributor opened the film in some major markets and is slowly rolling out the film. As Forrest Whitaker has begun to receive recognition for his role in the film, and therefore interest in the film is building, it will make its way here.
Looking forward to seeing it, too.
Nashville Film Festival
Interview with Forest Whitaker on Twitchfilm.net
Comments from Netflix.com customers who have seen the film:
When I saw this film opening weekend, a few people left the theater visibly shaken from these very disturbing scenes. Make no mistake, these scenes are appropriate to the film, but anyone squeemish in the face of film violence may want to think twice about seeing "The Last King of Scotland." — Padraig
This may be Whitaker’s best role to date and should earn him a Best Actor Oscar nod. The moment he first appears the tension becomes palpable. When he smiles, you sense the evil behind the grin. Throughout the film you cannot predict what he will do next, a reflection of Amin’s instability and a testament to the talent that Whitaker brings to the role. — Richard Krzemien