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Actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker won an Academy Award for his portrayal of dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. He’s also known for films like Bird, Ghost Dog and The Butler.
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Whitaker has also taken on parts in several crime dramas, including A Dark Truth (2012) and The Last Stand (2013), co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2013 he is slated to star as the lead in the biopic The Butler. The film, directed by Lee Daniels and co-starring Oprah Winfrey,
Whitaker married actress Keisha Nash in 1996; they have two daughters. He has a son and she has a daughter from previous relationships.
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Who can forget Angela Bassett as Tina Turner or Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles? Do you remember who played Billie Holiday? Or who Beyoncé performed as in the film Cadillac Records? More recent African-American biopics include the Lifetime original movie Betty & Coretta (2013), starring Angela Bassett as Coretta Scott King and Mary J. Blige as Betty Shabazz, and The Butler (2013), starring Forest Whitaker and based on the life of Eugene Allen.
View our photos of African-American biopics to compare these famous figures to the actors and actresses who have portrayed them.
African-American Biopics 39 people in this group
Best Actor Oscar Winners 64 people in this group
Truth is often more fascinating than fiction. Since the beginning of movies, actors have been portraying figures from history and bringing them to life on screen. Mastering the well-known mannerisms and characteristics of real world figures can be more challenging than portraying a fictional character. Enormous amounts of research and drastic physical transformations are not uncommon for actors wanting to properly inhabit their role on film. Whether playing a scheming Queen, a country singer, a temperamental boxer, or a pioneering writer, those performers who can accurately play the part often find Oscar gold as their reward. Here are the Academy Award-winning actors, and the larger-than-life people they portrayed.
Oscar-Winning Portrayals 70 people in this group
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