Tonight, the 75th Cannes Film Festival opens on the Croisette. For the occasion, Virginie Efira, the mistress of ceremonies, will welcome on stage Vincent Lindon, the president, and the other members of the jury. Together, they will award a Palme d’honneur to an actor unlike any other: Forest Whitaker. The opportunity to come back to five moments when we loved it and that we are not ready to forget.
“Gooooooood Morning, Vietnam!”
Born in July 1961, Forest Whitaker (five things you may not know about him) began acting in the cinema in the 1980s. He appeared in particular in The color of moneyby Martin Scorsese, and Platoon, by Oliver Stone. But it is thanks to another film taking place in Vietnam during the war that he really becomes known: Good Morning, Vietnam, the cult film starring Robin Williams. He plays Edward Garlick, the young assistant of the famous radio host. And if it can’t be seen in the image, we can imagine that the filming was not easy, to keep calm and stay in one’s role in the face of a Robin Williams boosted like never before and improvising some of his lines.
To a saxophone tune
In 1988, he set foot in Cannes for the first time. And this trip will change his life. First role in birda magnificent biopic of Charlie Parker directed by Clint Eastwood, it upsets the journalists and the jury chaired by Ettore Scola. And here he is crowned with the Best Actor Award. He says at the Cannes Film Festival, “it confirmed to me that devoting myself to seeking different relationships with humanity through cinema was the right decision.not.”
The Way of the Samurai
Eleven years later, in 1999, Forest Whitaker returns to the Croisette and appears completely transformed in Ghost Dog, the Way of the Samurai by Jim Jarmusch. Small braids on the head, slow movements and millennial wisdom, he is simply unforgettable, in the role of a hitman who tries to follow the code of honor of the samurai. The actor breathes beautiful poetry into this atypical film, accompanied by the superb soundtrack by The RZA.
A burglar like no other
Perhaps it is partly due to his very particular gaze (following an illness, his left eyelid is always partly lowered), perhaps it is only his talent, but the characters that Forest Whitaker (who also joined the Star Wars universe) embodies are never quite lambda. So his burglar in Panic Room by David Fincher appears human and almost touching, in the face of the barbarity of his colleagues (including Jared Leto).
Finally the Oscar
Throughout his career, Forest Whitaker (who also starred in Zulu, alongside Orlando Bloom) has only been nominated for an Oscar once. It’s incomprehensible. Fortunately, he won the famous statuette on his first (and currently last) nomination, for The Last King of Scotland. He is once again unrecognizable and breathtaking, in the role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada, opposite Gillian Anderson and James McAvoy.
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Cannes 2022: these five times when we loved Forest Whitaker, who will receive a Palme d’honneur