Which star's done the best job of portraying a celeb? Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated November 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Which star’s done the best job of portraying a celeb?

What actor or actress has done the best job of portraying a celebrity? — Steve
The tricky magic of playing a figure of great fame is that even a pinpoint impersonation won’t work if it doesn’t sculpt the subject’s soul. I now count Jamie Foxx in Ray as one of my favorites; here are a few more: Gary Busey tapped the all-American nerd fire of a rock legend in The Buddy Holly Story, and the last 10 years have given us two indelible presidential portraits — Bruce Greenwood’s JFK in Thirteen Days, a study in the cool intellectual rigor of real leadership, and Anthony Hopkins’ corrosively human Richard Nixon in Nixon. That said, I think the most possessed performance I have ever seen in this category took place in a TV movie. In Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, Judy Davis channeled Garland’s heartbreak, rage, and tremulous domineering grandeur with a force that was simply operatic.

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