Jamie Foxx

By Clarissa Cruz
Updated January 20, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Jamie Foxx
Credit: Jamie Foxx photograph by Martin Schoeller

Jamie Foxx made our 2004 Entertainers of the Year list

Given Jamie Foxx’s intensely dramatic year, it’s easy to forget that a few years ago, he was a stalwart on The WB, seemingly destined for a career of Booty Call flicks. There were inklings Foxx could act — Any Given Sunday and Ali brought him kudos as a supporting player who didn’t wither against the likes of Al Pacino and Will Smith.

But nothing on Foxx’s résumé prepared moviegoers for his spectacular hat trick in 2004. He was the unlikely choice to play Ray Charles in the Taylor Hackford-directed biopic — now, after seeing it, can you imagine anybody else? Foxx energized the entire picture, quietly capturing the late musician’s mannerisms, his tentative walk, and reflexive smile. As a conflicted cabbie in Collateral, he commanded the screen opposite Tom Cruise’s flashier role. And on television in the FX movie Redemption, he turned in a gripping performance as death-row inmate and Crips cofounder Stan ”Tookie” Williams.

The star’s colleagues aren’t surprised by his versatility, ”but I was floored by his respect for the craft,” says Ray costar Regina King. ”When we’re shooting, Jamie was nowhere in sight. I was working with Ray Charles. Seriously.”

It’s that uncanny performance that has Oscar on everybody’s mind, Foxx included. ”[The Oscar buzz] helps in so many ways. It means I’m walking in the right direction as far as having a career where I’ll be offered parts that have meat on them. I’ll be able to get up into that room where they hold the good stuff.” We think he’s already there.