Forest Whitaker and His Movies


I’m not trying to defend him, the Amin I found was not a good man.
-Forest Whitaker

The award for Best Actor in this year’s Academy Awards was hotly contested. Ryan Gosling’s performance in Half Nelson was very moving. Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happyness stuck close to the source material. Sir Peter O’ Toole has always been consistently good. Leonardo DiCaprio’s South African Bad Boy accent could have fooled anyone. Yet there weren’t any protests when Forest Whitaker stepped up to receive his Oscar. His role as the Dictator of Uganda was very charming and horrific at the same time. Forest would now be in the elite group of Oscar Best Actor winners of African descent. The list includes Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, and Sidney Poitier.

A lot of people may identify Forest with his current works but he has been an actor for quite long time. He was born July 15, 1961 to Forest Whitaker, Jr. and Laura Frances Smith at Longview, Texas. When he was still small the family moved in Los Angeles. At Palisades High School he became a defensive tackle led by future NFL player, Jay Shroeder.

His first onscreen performance was on Fast Times at Ridgemont High together with Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, and Phoebe Cates. It was a coming of age teen movie about four friends who deemed themselves wise in the ways of the world. Forest was included in a minor role but what’s interesting is that a lot of the cast are now full blown actors. Even the writer, Cameron Crowe, has become a successful director himself.

Throughout the 80s and the 90s he would work with a lot of critically acclaimed directors. He was in Clint Eastwood’s Bird. He won best actor in Cannes Film Festival that year. He was also in The Crying Game directed by Robert Altman.

Whitaker also starred in what a lot of people in the industry consider as a worst film. The film was Battlefield Earth, from the novel of the name by L. Ron Hubbard. It didn’t have good reviews and was a disaster in the box office. However Forest’s work on the science fiction filmed was praised by its Roger Christian, director.

Forest Whitaker was also in the The Follow, Wong Kar Wai’s entry to the BMW short film series. After that he starred in Phone Booth alongside Keifer Sutherland and Colin Farell. At the same year, he starred in Panic Room with Jodie Foster.

His most successful film to date of course is The Last King of Scotland. For the part he needed to gain weight, study various mannerisms of the Dictator through videos, master Swahili and its accent. As previously mentioned, he won the academy fort the role. He was also honored for the same role in the Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA, and the Screen Actors.
His television credits include roles in The Shield, and ER. He is also a famed director. Among his works include Door to Door, Waiting to Exhale, and First Daughter (with Katie Holmes). Door to Door earned an Emmy when it aired.

Sam Carrara is an avid movie watcher and enthusiast. Join him at for more movies with Forest Whitaker at:

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