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Fairytale come true for Forest's king and Dreamgirl

Zinhle Ntuli

Zinhle Ntuli

American actor Forest Whitaker proved to be king of the big screen at the Oscars with his portrayal of the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, in the riveting The Last King of Scotland, already showing in South African theatres.

With 17 other awards to his name, including the Golden Globes, Screen Actors' Guild awards and the British Arts, Film and TV Awards, it came as no surprise when the star picked up the big one.

He beat big names such as Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio to win the coveted best performance by an actor in a leading role award.

Whitaker had been a favourite with critics since the film was first shown last year.

It was his ability to be charismatic, vicious, charming, terrifying, kind and at the same time dangerous when in character as Big Dada that made him the all-round favourite.

Where DiCaprio failed, his director, Martin Scorsese, scored with his mob hit film, The Departed. The film was the biggest winner, winning best motion picture of the year and scored the director his first ever best achievement in directing award.

British actress Helen Mirren was once again crowned queen when she picked up best performance by an actress in a leading role award.

She won with her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the film, The Queen.

Newcomer Jennifer Hudson picked up the best performance by an actress in a supporting role award for her part as a disgruntled singer in Dreamgirls, also playing at theatres countrywide.

The former American Idols finalist in 2005 also picked up the best supporting actress award at the Golden Globes late last year.

The evening was disappointing for veteran actor Eddie Murphy, who lost out on the best performance by an actor in a supporting role.

That was taken by Alan Arkin for his role in Little Miss Sunshine.

Murphy, who has all but disappeared under the radar in the film world and hasn't had a leading role in years, finally looked like he was going to be honoured for his role in the film Dreamgirls.

Other notable winners included Al Gore's global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Happy Feet, which was the best animated film.

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