Oscar Spotlight: Best Actor

by Paul Guidaboni
Friday Feb 11, 2005
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The actors in this category are veteran favorites of moviegoers everywhere. So will this be a tough race to call? Highly unlikely, as voters will be crazy as a ‘Foxx’ in their selection here. And while all five nominees certainly are deserving, the gleaming omission here is Paul Giamatti from ‘Sideways’. Here’s a closer look at the nominees, with four of the five nominees playing real life, rather than fictional characters.

Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda

Widely known and respected as a supporting actor for many years in films like ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, Cheadle graduates to leading man status in this powerful role. Scoring his first nomination, he expertly portrays a real-life Hindu hotel manager who saves countless lives during the Rwandan genocide. Though certainly deserving this nomination, he likely will not go home with the golden guy.

Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland

Depp’s portrayal of Scottish playwright and Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie is both sensitive and masterful. He is the boy who refuses to grow up and is widely embraced by the boys he takes under his wing in this film (unlike the creepy real life Neverland lover Michael Jackson). But while this performance is worthy of a nomination, Depp will likely have to wait yet another year to actually win Oscar.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator

Though some think that Leo was a bit too young and baby faced to play the legendary, germ phobic millionaire Howard Hughes, they may just be wrong. At first glance you do wonder if he can pull off this role, but he carries this picture and raises him to new heights. His is definitely in leading man territory here. Though he may not win Oscar this year, he surely will be back.

Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby

Pulling double duty as both Director and Actor in this powerful film, Eastwood reminds us of the powerful force he evokes. Bringing his real life power and experience to this wonderful role as boxing coach and father figure to Hilary Swank, Clint shines. Though he has a better chance of winning the Best Director Oscar, he could score a ‘one two punch’ in an upset to Foxx.

Jamie Foxx in Ray

Just about every critic and industry award has gone to Foxx in this category. And deservedly so. His portrayal of the late, great Ray Charles is nothing short of marvelous. While watching this film, you tend to forget that an actor is actually portraying the artist, until about three quarters of the way through, when he removes his glasses to remind us that it actually is Foxx. He’s definitely the one to beat.

Should Win and Will Win:
Jamie Foxx – This seems to be the only ‘sure thing’ this year. And if he were not to win the Oscar, gasps and rebellions will likely be seen and heard everywhere. Even host Chris Rock has guaranteed Foxx an award. He is also this year’s only dual acting nominee, a feat in itself. But this flawless performance is nothing short of a guarantee Oscar win.

Paul is an avid lover of everyting outdoors, travel and pop culture related - He is a San Diego based writer for many of these topics.


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