Special to TelevisionWeek
No one has ever received three Golden Globe acting nominations in one year until now, but this seems to be Jamie Foxx’s year.
One of Mr. Foxx’ nods came for his intense performance in the title role of the FX telemovie “Redemption: The Stan `Tookie’ Williams Story.” A gritty biopic set on California’s death row, “Redemption” tells the story of Tookie Williams, a founder of the Los Angeles-based Crips gang, who has spent 23 years on California’s death row. Mr. Foxx depicted a man who as a youth was an aimless menace but as an imprisoned adult became an activist, educator and writer.
Like Mr. Foxx, Mos Def is a first-time nominee and played a real person. But his character, Vivien Thomas, was a straight-ahead hero, albeit an unsung one. Mr. Thomas, despite being denied a medical school education, became a pioneering surgical and medical researcher.
Mos Def, a leading hip-hop artist, has a growing reputation as a stage, TV and film actor and may be the surprise in this category. His understated performance as a quiet, slow-burning scientist is mature beyond his years.
Geoffrey Rush earned his fourth Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the title role in “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” (HBO). A winner in 1997 for “Shine,” he was nominated for playing the Marquis de Sade in “Quills” (2001) and for a supporting role in “Shakespeare in Love” (1999). In the first two cases, Mr. Rush said, he had biographical sources to go on. To play Mr. Sellers, an actor of a thousand voices and faces, was more daunting.
“To play him, it felt like I was sitting in an exam. Once I got over the panic, it was pleasurable,” Mr. Rush said. “HBO assembled great actors to work with and a great makeup team, and it sort of became fun. Every time I sat down at the dressing table we were dressing as someone completely different, because that was the nature of the person I was playing.”
Patrick Stewart, who produced as well as starred in Showtime’s “The Lion in Winter,” called the nominations for him, co-star Glenn Close and the TV movie “a wholehearted endorsement of the film.”
The telefilm is based on James Goldman’s classic play. As Henry II, the 12th century English king, Mr. Stewart plays a patriarch contending with his estranged queen, three scheming sons and a young rival king. In short, it was the role of a lifetime-one for which Peter O’Toole also received a 1968 Oscar nomination.
“I wish that nominations could have gone to all our supporting cast as well,” said Mr. Stewart, who was nominated once before, for playing Ahab in “Moby Dick.” “We had four wonderful young actors who played the princes and the king of France, and that would have made it perfect.”
William H. Macy stands out in this category in two ways: He is the only nominee playing a fictional character and the man he’s playing does not speak.
“The Wool Cap” (TNT), for which Mr. Macy shares a writing credit, is based on the 1962 movie “Gigot,” which starred Jackie Gleason. It’s the story of a mute handyman who forges an unlikely friendship with an abandoned child. Steven Schacter, who directed and collaborated with Mr. Macy on the teleplay, also worked with him on “Door to Door,” the TNT film for which Mr. Macy earned another Golden Globe nomination. (He was also nominated as a supporting actor for “Seabiscuit.”)
Mr. Schacter recalled a scene in a crime caper film in which an aggressive woman seduced Mr. Macy. “Bill’s silent reactions were so clear, so funny, that it triggered the idea-he is a good mime. I thought of Gigot, and if anybody could play this kind of role fully, it’s him. There’s a quiet elegance and sadness, and people would understand him.”