Forest Whitaker attended the University of Southern California and received a scholarship to the Berkeley branch of the Drama Studio, London. His first notable film appearance was in the 1982 movie titled, ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’. He went on to appear in movies like ‘Color of Money’, ‘Platoon’, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ and ‘BloodSport’. His first lead role was in Clint Eastwood’s movie ‘Bird’. His role of Charlie Parker in the film earned him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988 and a nomination at Golden Globe Awards. His role in the movie ‘The Crying Game’ was critically acclaimed. His performance in the movie ‘Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai’ received wide acclamation. Whitaker’s role in the movie “The Last Kind of Scotland’ in 2006 earned him multiple awards and critical acclaim. This included the Academy Award for Best Actor, thus becoming the fourth African-American Actor to earn the award. His other notable films include ‘Phenomenon’, ‘Smoke’, ‘Panic Room’, ‘Phone Booth’, ‘American Gun’, ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’, ‘Black Nativity’, ‘Out of the Furnace’, ‘Arrival’ and ‘SouthPaw’.
His notable television appearances were in ‘Deacons of Defense’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘ER’, ‘The Shield’ among others.
In his directorial venture, he has directed movies like ‘Strapped’, ‘Waiting to Exhale’, ‘First Daughter’ and ‘Hope Floats’. His work in ‘Hope Floats’ earned him nominations for Best Director at Acapulco Black Film Festival Award and Black Film Award. He is a recipient of the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has received a couple of honorary doctorates for his contributions to the film industry.