Its history in the making when Chris Rock hosts the 77th Academy Awards on Feb. 27, where four black actors have been nominated for five out of 20 Academy nominations. Jamie Foxx is setting the tone for the historical event as hes the first black actor to be nominated in both the best actor (Ray) and supporting actor (Collateral) categories the same year.
But ah, it gets better. Foxx is going up against stiff competition from other black actors Don Cheadle for best actor (Hotel Rwanda) and legendary actor Morgan Freeman for best supporting actor in Million Dollar Baby. And if that isnt enough, Sophie Okonedo received the Academys nod for best supporting actress nomination for her role in Hotel Rwanda.
This unprecedented event comes three years after Halle Berry (Monsters Ball) and Denzel Washington (Training Day) shook up Hollywood winning the Best Actress and Actor Awards. So what are the odds of Foxx, Cheadle, Freeman and Okonedo following in Denzels and Halles foot steps? Who will triumph? Here are the odds as we see them.
Jamie Foxx Why Hell Win: Come on. Didnt you see Ray? Jamie Foxx is Ray Charles. Plus he had personal training from "The Genuis" himself. An uncanny performance all the way around from a comedian/actor who up until last year was renown for lame movies such as Booty Call. Then he surprised all of us with Redemption and Collateral. Why He Wont: The bottomline is, Foxx is going to take home a gold statue for either Ray or Collateral. But its likey to be for Ray. If not, the academy has some explaining to do. ODDS: A Sure Bet
Don Cheadle Why Hell Win: Usually a supporting actor, Don Cheadle proved that he has the acting chops in Hotel Rwanda to carry an entire film. Critics found Cheadles performance riveting. Like Jamie Foxx, 2004 was Cheadles breakthrough year as a leading actor. Why He Wont: Besides trying to best Foxx, Cheadle is up against heavy hitters Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby), Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland) and the popular Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator). Its not that he doesnt deserve it, its just not his year. In fact, ole steely-eyed Clint might be the wildcard in the deck, because voters might feel hes paid his dues. ODDS: 5-1
Morgan Freeman Why Hell Win: Morgan Freeman is a veteran actor who knows his way around any script well enough to make it an award-winning project. However, in Million Dollar Baby Freeman has ripened with age and can make a simple character complicated and authentic. A powerful performance. And like Eastwood, Freeman has been down this road before, and the voters may feel now is the time to recognize him. Why He Wont: Unless Jamie Foxx makes a clean sweep, which is unlikely, Freeman might lose in a popularity contest to flavors-of-the-month Clive Owen (Closer) and Thomas Haden Church (Sideways). But on an equal playing field, Freeman should win best supporting actor. ODDS: 2-1
Sophie Okonedo Why Shell Win: Sophie Okonedo was simply impeccable as Tatiana, Don Cheadles characters wife in Hotel Rwanda. A Shakespearean trained actress, Okonedo brought her dramatic training to the big screen and quickly gained critical acclaim that earned her an Oscar nod for best supporting actress right off the bat. Why She Wont: Theres no reason why she shouldnt. However, this is Okonedos first trip the the big show, and the Oscar voters might feel she hasnt paid her dues yet. But if they judge her on shear acting ability, the former stage actress should beat her Hollywood trained competition. ODDS: 5-1
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