Making his debut in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Forest Whitaker has performed memorably in films like Platoon, Good Morning, Vietnam and The Crying Game. In 1988, Forest played jazz musician Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's Bird, winning Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.
Whitaker has received tremendous critical acclaim for his Best Actor nominated performance as dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, winning top honours from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review, the Golden Globe and BAFTA.
For the role of Amin, Whitaker gained 50 pounds, learned to play the accordian, and immersed himself in heavy research -- reading books, watching news/documentary footage, and spending time in Uganda meeting Amin's friends, relatives, generals, and victims; he also learned Swahili and mastered Amin's East African accent.
"Whitaker, in the performance of a lifetime, makes [Amin] a charismatic madman. Whitaker has done some surpassingly gentle and rueful work in the past, but for this role he has transformed himself -- he's either sprawled in a stupor or alarmingly mobile, throwing his big body around the room as if it weighed nothing. His laugh is enormous, and his arms are like grappling hooks. This dictator has a terrifying affability." Read David Denby's complete review at The New Yorker