Whitaker surrounded by enthusiastic Ugandan fans during the premiere of The Last King of Scotland in Kampala. Photo by Nigel M Nassar
And the Oscar goes to…Forest Whitaker!
By Special correspondent Feb 25, 11.59 PM
It’s official. Forest Whitaker has garnered the Oscar for ‘Performance by an Actor in a Leading role.’ He won the award for his role as blood-thirsty 1970s Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, in The Last King of Scotland. Receiving his award at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood last night, Whitaker attributed his success to his “desire to connect to everyone.” In a humble voice, which was a total contrast to his thunderous tone as Idi Amin, Whitaker thanked his fellow actors, the people of Uganda and everyone who worked with him on his journey to recognition. He also thanked his wife Keisha, for her special support and dedication.
Whitaker competed against Leornardo DeCaprio as “Danny Archer” in Blood Diamond; Ryan Gosling as “Dan Dunne” in Half Nelson; Peter O’Toole as “Maurice” in Venus, and Will Smith as “Chris Gardner” in The Pursuit of Happyness. This was Whitaker’s first nomination.
ajabuafrica.com News, © 2007
IDI AMIN DADA LIVES ON AFTER DEATH
Movie fans line up at the Cineplex Garden City for the Premiere of
The Last King Scotland in Kampala, Uganda
Special Feature on The Last King of Scotland
Story and Photography by Nigel M Nassar
KAMPALA-February 17, 2007
It’s close to a third decade now since former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada’s reign of
terror was disbanded. The ouster of the West Nile-born Nubian-Kakwa dominator took
place in 1979, with the assistance of Tanzanian armed forces.
Although gone from the political scene, memories of his tyrannical rule remain indelible in
the minds of Ugandans, spreading to newer generations. Until recently, preserving this gory
part of Uganda’s history was confined to works of literature, theatrical drama, and a few
On February 17, 2007, Ugandans and international guests saw another version of the
departed dictator, in form of a big Hollywood-style movie: The Last King of Scotland.
The movie premiered in the high-profile movie house in Kampala, Cineplex Garden City.
The movie was shot on location in Uganda in 2005, paralyzing daily activities in Kampala
city with road closures and restricted access to particular areas which were being used as
Now on the big screen, the main role of the dictator is played by Hollywood big actor,
Forest Whitaker, who successfully reincarnates Idi Amin in Kevin Macdonald’s Academy
Award contender.Categorized as a ‘drama,’ the film is rated ‘R’ with a running time of 2
hours 3 minutes.Whitaker is a winner of the Golden Globe® Award for his menacing
portrayal of Idi Amin. The Hollywood actor is also nominated for an Oscar® for his
With H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Uganda’s President as guest of honor to the African
premiere of the movie, Kampala came to a stand still with the attendant security which was
not just for the high-profile presence of the country’s leader, but also for the esteemed
presence of the international film stars that comprised Whitaker’s entourage. Also present
at the occasion was former Tanzanian President, H.E Benjamin Mkapa, who was
accompanied by his wife, Mama Anna Mkapa.
McAvoy and Whitaker are invaded by press HE President Yoweri Museveni (right)
with former Tanzanian President
Benjamin Mkapa and his wife
Located on the third floor of Garden City, a multi-million leisure and shopping complex,
Cineplex Cinema is the nation’s biggest upscale film spot where most of the hottest releases
from the movie world are screened. Having caused a public frenzy, The Last King of
Scotland was highly welcomed, as it told a story made in Uganda.
The film is adapted from author Giles Foden’s best-selling novel under the same title. It is an
account of both a factual and fictitious story of a naïve young doctor (Nicholas Garrigan,
played by James McAvoy), who falls prey to Amin’s manic obsession, but extricates himself
from the death snare, in a narrow escape from death.
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