Seeing Forest for the Trees: Whitaker Deserves Oscar Bid

Whew! I think Forest Whitaker has finally put the whole Battlefield Earth fiasco behind him.

I mean, we know he's a talented actor who has come a long way from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But in The Last King of Scotland, Whitaker delivers an Oscar-worthy performance sure to earn him a Best Actor nomination.

Whitaker does a phenomenal job playing former Ugandan President Idi Amin. A charming and lovable man of the people one moment, a paranoid, vindictive and brutal dictator the next, Whitaker brings Amin to life beyond the caricatures we've seen before. The movie's not really about Amin; or rather, it's not supposed to be. But Whitaker manages to eclipse the rest of the cast, including James McAvoy, who plays the movie's central character: a Scottish doctor enlisted to become Amin's personal physician.

McAvoy's good, don't get me wrong. But even Mr. Tumnus couldn't steal a scene from Whitaker's Amin.

Gillian Anderson's in this movie too. And not enough, I might add. She's HOT. I never liked her much on X-Files, but the former alien-hunting FBI agent dropped a few pounds, grew her hair out, and dyed it blonde for this flick. She's only in a few scenes in the beginning of the film, which is too bad. She could have used a little more screen time.

Hard to believe, but Forest Whitaker has never even been nominated for an Academy Award. Given the Academy's penchant for rewarding actors who portray real people (and do it well), Whitaker is almost certainly a shoo-in, at least for a nomination.

Interestingly, he may find himself going head-to-head with fellow Fast Times alum Sean Penn, who's sure to earn an Oscar bid for playing Willie Stark in All the King's Men. Jefferson Anderson vs. Jeff Spicoli on Oscar night. Awesome, dude!

But even if Whitaker doesn't take home a golden statue, Last King certainly ought to solidfy his place among Hollywood's best and brightest. Maybe it will even make people forget about that movie he did with John Travolta long ago and far away. Battlefield Fugeddaboutit.