“In our music, in our everyday life, there are so many negative things. Why not have something positive and stamp it with blackness?” – Jamie Foxx
An outspoken figure of Hollywood, Jamie Foxx is one of the most culturally pertinent actors currently working in the industry, having made a name for himself as a quality Oscar-winning lead performer. Ascending the industry ladder through the 1990s, Foxx helped to consolidate his place in cinema with the likes of films such as Ray, Jarhead, Law Abiding Citizen and Django Unchained.
At the very forefront of conversations regarding continued efforts for black civil rights in the 21st century, Foxx has become far more than just a Hollywood celebrity, particularly in modern times. Speaking about how he sets an example to his young children, Foxx told NPR: “When these movements came up – and any movie. Like, even the marches and everything like that, I take my daughter to the marches and everything. I want them to feel like they have people that support them in every way”.
Having worked with some of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time, including the likes of Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino, Seth MacFarlane, Sam Mendes and Edgar Wright, Jamie Foxx has developed an impressive filmography. Spanning 32 years, the actor has enjoyed a blossoming career that continues to stand at the pinnacle of the film industry. Let’s take a look back at his time in Hollywood through six definitive films.
Jamie Foxx’s six definitive films:
Toys (Barry Levinson, 1992)
Remarkably, Jamie Foxx’s career was sparked under strange circumstances, accepting the dare of his then-girlfriend to appear at a comedy club’s open mic night in 1989. Changing his name from Eric Marlon Bishop, Foxx went on to join the cast of In Living Colour before receiving his own sitcom in The Jamie Foxx Show.
An astonishing rise from obscurity, Foxx earned his place in his very first feature film, Toys in 1992, appearing with Robin Williams, Joan Cusack, LL Cool J and Michael Gambon. Taking a small supporting role as Baker in the throwaway comedy, Foxx was introduced to the wider international world of cinema, where he would go on to much bigger and better things.
Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone, 1999)
Becoming an iconic star of music as well as cinema, Foxx’s own love of the art form came out in appearances in music videos for the likes of Coolio and Ice Cube, whilst he continued to plough a career for himself in the film industry.
Coming off the back of consistent success throughout the 20th century with the likes of Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and Natural Born Killers, there was no better time for Jamie Foxx to team up with filmmaker Oliver Stone. Further establishing himself among the Hollywood elite, Foxx appeared as a supporting actor in the staggering ensemble cast including, Cameron Diaz, Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J and James Woods.
In efforts trying to find a foothold in the industry, Oliver Stone’s Hollywood juggernaut would become the perfect vehicle for Foxx to rise to prominence.
Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004)
At the turn of the 21st century, Jamie Foxx saw the opportunity to catapult himself to stardom, continuing his endeavours in music videos, appearing with Aaliyah, Busta Rhymes and Kanye West, whilst teaming up with Michael Mann for the first time with Ali in 2001.
Though Ali would mark their first collaboration, Collateral would see Foxx take on a far more major part, starring alongside Tom Cruise as a taxi driver being held hostage by a dangerous gangster. Awarded with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his extraordinary performance in the role, Collateral was the film that would consolidate his position in the industry, before another film would set him apart as one of the finest working actors…
Ray (Taylor Hackford, 2004)
If a year was to define the life of Jamie Foxx, 2004 would most certainly be that year, as following his breakthrough performance in Collateral that would place his name among the star-studded likes of Tom Cruise, he would then be awarded an Academy Award for his lead performance as Ray Charles.
An illustrative example of Foxx’s own love of music materialising as a cinematic work of art, Ray starred the actor as the iconic, blind blues musician Ray Charles alongside a supporting cast of Regina King, Terrence Howard and more. Adopting method acting for the role, Foxx agreed to have his eyelids glued shut for the duration of the film’s daily production to give a more effective performance. Clearly, the dangerous decision paid off, with Foxx receiving an Academy Award and capping off an extraordinary year of filmmaking.
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)
Holding a coveted Oscar statuette, director Sam Mendes was attracted to work with the star for Jarhead, before Michael Mann returned to use the actor for Miami Vice and Foxx resumed his work with some of music’s finest, starring in music videos for Usher, Nicki Minaj and LMFAO.
Such appearances pale in comparison to his major role in Django Unchained from director Quentin Tarantino, a film that would re-establish his foothold in contemporary cinema, appearing alongside a supporting cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz. Though Ray may be his most decorated role, there’s no doubt that in the modern landscape of cinema, it is his titular character in Django Unchained that is the most celebrated.
Soul (Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, 2020)
Nicely tying his contributions to both cinema and music together into a neat, animated bow, Pixar’s Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, was a celebration of jazz, blues and black culture in New York City.
The perfect culmination of all his career efforts, Foxx lent his voice to the leading role of Joe in the film, alongside other actors including, Graham Norton, Tina Fey, Richard Ayoade and Questlove. The two-time Oscar-winning film collected statuettes for both Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score and represented one of Foxx’s finest films in seven years, ever since Django Unchained.
Currently about to star in the most-anticipated film of 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home with Tom Holland, Zendaya and Willem Dafoe, Jamie Foxx still holds great significance right at the top of the industry ladder. His latest film is just one in a long line of much-anticipated releases coming soon from the iconic star of Hollywood.