Morgan Freeman launched his career as a stage and television performer, sculpting his technique on and off Broadway in shows as varied as Peter Shaffer's "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" and an all-black version of "Hello, Dolly!"
As a screen actor, Freeman's commanding presence can make you suspect he's really the leading man even when he's ostensibly playing a sidekick role, like Clint Eastwood's partner in crime or Brad Pitt's partner in law enforcement. Not that Freeman would upstage a colleague. Good acting, he likes to say, is all about trust — in the director, the designers, above all in your fellow performers.
There always have been at least two ways to take Morgan Freeman. You could think of him, most obviously, as a paradigm of the versatile studio pro. An actor capable of transitioning from a vicious black pimp ("Street Smart," his first Oscar nomination) to a persnickety white woman's genteel chauffeur ("Driving Miss Daisy," his second), a stoic Civil War soldier ("Glory") and a prisoner with the hard-earned acuity of an Old Testament wise man ("The Shawshank Redemption," his third Oscar nod).
He won a supporting actor Oscar as a boxing gym manager in 2004's "Million Dollar Baby."
In "Invictus," for which he received his latest Oscar nomination, he portrays Nelson Mandela at a crucial moment in his tenure as South Africa's first elected black president. Freeman's Mandela possesses a sly humor and an iron will, camouflaged by his disarming smile and cordial bearing.
|1987||Best Supporting Actor||Street Smart||Nomination|
|1989||Best Actor||Driving Miss Daisy||Nomination|
|1994||Best Actor||The Shawshank Redemption||Nomination|
|2004||Best Supporting Actor||Million Dollar Baby||Win|