Thursday, March 03, 2005

Jamie Foxx Did Deserve That Oscar

I finally watched Ray just two days before the Oscars came on and I'm glad I did. I got to see the reason why Jamie Foxx became the first In Living Color alumnus to win an Academy Award.

Jamie's performance is the heart of Ray. To me, the best acting performances are those where you watch and completely forget who you are watching. Jamie Foxx's performance as Ray Charles is one of those performances. What's especially good is (ironically) what you don't see. In all of two hours and 33 minutes, you only see Jamie's eyes once (in a dream sequence). His eyes are hidden by shades or completely closed during the entire movie. Jamie manages to convey a lot of emotion without ever using his eyes and that is just amazing.

Fortunately, Jamie's performance isn't the only good thing in the movie. The other actors put in great performances as well. It's a shame that none of the main female performers in Ray, including Regina King and Kerry Washington, got Oscar nominations. The two of them especially (along with Aunjanue Ellis who played Ray's mother) put in strong performances. I barely recognized Curtis Armstrong as Ahmet Ertegun, a man who helped Ray become the great artist he became. It was also good to see Warwick Davis in a role that did not require makeup.

The story of the film isn't sugarcoated and it's surprising that Ray Charles let people see that he wasn't exactly a saint. The movie portrays him as a man of contradiction. He "loved" his wife and family but cheated on them when he was on the road. He took drugs but would get rid of anyone else who used them. All of this creates a realistic portrait of a man who forever changed music. Speaking of the music, it's wonderful. Music takes up the vast majority of the movie, but it's well worth it. I bet that this film introduced Ray Charles's music to a generation that never knew about it. My family does not own one single Ray Charles record, so this film exposed me to more music than I ever knew he had. My most vivid memory of Ray Charles before this movie were those Diet Pepsi commercials.

All in all, Ray is a very good movie. It's one flaw is its ending. It's as if they couldn't really find a good place to end Ray's story. The sequence in Georgia at the end is nice, but it's not exactly the ending you would hope for. I did like that they put that footage of the real Ray Charles at the end as a dedication to this great musician. After seeing this film, I wonder what Jamie Foxx will do next. As an actor, I hope he continues to get better. I also hope that this film will lead to Hollywood realizing that a black-lead drama can do well both critically and commercially.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Foxx did deserve the Oscar.. Awesome blog.