Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Forest Whitaker

• 2006: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Forest Whitaker (born July 15, 1961) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy-winning actor, producer, and director. He became the fourth African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Whitaker attended the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona on a football scholarship, but left due to a debilitating back injury. He was accepted to the Music Conservatory at the University of Southern California (USC) to study opera as a tenor, and subsequently was accepted into the University's Drama Conservatory. He graduated from USC in 1982. Whitaker has a long history of working with well-regarded film directors and fellow actors.

He's greatest success to date is the 2006 film, The Last King of Scotland. To prepare for his role as dictator Idi Amin, Whitaker gained 50 pounds, learned to play the accordion, and immersed himself in research. He read books about Amin, watched news and documentary footage, and spent time in Uganda meeting with Amin's friends, relatives, generals, and victims; he also learned Swahili and mastered Amin's East African accent.

Whitaker’s performance as Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, in the film, The Last King of Scotland earned him the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. For that same role, he also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award, and accolades from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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