NOMINATED FOR 6 ACADEMY AWARDS! Best Film, Best Actor (Jamie Foxx), Best Director (Taylor Hackford), Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing.
NOMINATED FOR 4 BRITISH ACADEMY AWARDS! Best Actor (Jamie Foxx), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Music, Best Sound
GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER! Best Actor - Musical or Comedy (Jamie Foxx)
Jamie Foxx follows up his role in Collateral with another sit-up-and-take-notice performance in Ray in which he inhabits the soul of the legendary musician, Ray Charles who died on June 11, 2004.
The movie covers a four-decade period of Charles life, beginning with and occasionally flashing back to his impoverished childhood in Georgia in the 1930s. During this time two traumatic incidents occur that would forever affect his life; at the age of five he watches his younger brother drown, and by the time he is seven, he has become blind. A great inspiration is his mother, Aretha (Sharon Warren) whose determination not to allow her sons blindness to make him a cripple teaches him to be independent in the world of darkness he would inhabit for the rest of his life.
As a teenager in 1948, Charles - unafraid and ready to make it as a musician - boards a bus and heads to Seattle where, with jazz guitarist and partner, Gossie McKee (Terrence Dashon Howard), he gets a job playing piano for manager, Marlene (Denise Dowse) at the Rocking Chair Club. Its here that drugs first come into his life through club announcer, Oberon (Warwick Davis) who tells him that he is being ripped off by McKee and Denise. His early inexperience about business matters serves to shape him into an astute businessman later in his career.
Charles smooth crooning and piano playing have already won him a following and he is signed up for a record deal by Jack Lauderdale (Robert Wisdom) and his Swingtime Records label, but a lonely life on the road leads to his first encounter with heroin and an addiction that would grip him for 16 years.
It is a dependence that would also put a strain on his marriage to Della Bea (Kerry Washington) even more than his affairs on the road with backup singers, Mary Ann Fisher (Aunjanue Ellis) and Margie Hendricks (Regina King).
His real breakthrough comes when he is signed up by Ahmet Ertegun (Curtis Armstrong) and Jerry Wexler (Richard Schiff) for Atlantic Records during which time he finds his own voice and style - notably when he blends Gospel music with Blues - a controversial combination that is condemned as sacrilegious by many, but which rockets him even further to fame. In 1959, those early lessons that have taught him business sense prompt him to switch record labels and to take even more control of his career by signing an unprecedented deal that allows him to own his masters.
Charles experiences more controversy in the early 1960s when he refuses to play for a segregated audience in Georgia and becomes a Civil Rights activist. In 1965 he is busted for heroin possession - and checks into rehab to kick the habit.
Ray encapsulates the mans life up to this period - a life that is certainly not without its drama, but perhaps even more significant is the music and for the devotees theres plenty to soak up. The voice is pure Ray Charles and in Jamie Foxxs uncanny performance, many might swear that the man on screen is, too.