Movies | Oscars 2015

Early Oscar Pronouncement: Forest Whitaker!

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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…

Originally posted September 28 2006 — 10:00 AM EDT

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