Best Actor, 2004
(Click on the linked film titles for reviews of the corresponding films.)

Don Cheadle
Hotel Rwanda


The most enormously sympathetic character in the bunch, played by a longtime pro of a character actor who finally vaults himself to leading-man status in a single, eye-opening film. Good accessorizing with that tricky and flawlessly delivered accent. In another year, he'd swipe it.

Isn't Jamie Foxx.
Johnny Depp
Finding Neverland

Now that he's become the world's favorite actor, even a lukewarm performance like this one will be seen as its own strength.
He is Johnny Depp, which is pretty dang good, but he still isn't Jamie Foxx.
Leonardo DiCaprio
The Aviator

Showy, tetchy, comparably full-bodied performance as famous eccentric by an actor who has struggled to escape the shadow of the Titanic. Headlining a frontrunner for Best Picture.
Isn't Jamie Foxx.
Clint Eastwood
Million Dollar Baby

Gruff, tortured, nicely layered performance by a screen icon whose very iconicity has become an industry obsession. Finally delivers a performance that is the equal of his directing efforts. In a different year, he'd swipe it.
He's Clint Eastwood, which is pretty dang good, but he still isn't Jamie Foxx.
Jamie Foxx

Everything. Every important prize. Every trait of Oscar-friendly performances. Every kind of acting: physical, vocal, musical. Everything. Stage charisma. Funny bones. A cute puss. A rising star. Everything, baby. Isn't... wait, he is!

WHO WILL WIN: Um, Jamie Foxx.

WHO SHOULD WIN: My vote goes to Don Cheadle in a heartbeat, holding every scene of his movie from the most mundane moments to those of the highest possible drama, without looking fussy or self-conscious in any of it. Beautiful.

...AND WHO OUGHTA BEEN INVITED: If De-Lovely had opened later in the year, Kevin Kline's impeccably subtle performance and his perfectly calibrated tunefulness might—might—have given Jamie Foxx a run for his money in the singing & dancing department. If The Assassination of Richard Nixon had opened a little earlier, Sean Penn's powerhouse impersonation of another real-life character, the sad-sack would-be assassin Sam Byck, should/could/would have trounced Depp's anemic Barrie and DiCaprio's frail Hughes. Release calendars really are everything, people.

Home 2004 the Oscars E-Mail