“In our music, in our everyday life, there are so many negative things. Why not have something positive and stamp it with blackness?"
——Jamie Foxx


Jamie Foxx Honored at "Def Oscar Jam" for His Uncanny Portrayal of the Late, Great Artist
“Thanks, Ray Charles, for livin’,” said Jamie Foxx during his acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Oscars, which had more than a little in common with the recent Grammys, thanks to Foxx’s channeling of the late, great performer. No, Taylor Hackford’s Ray! didn’t win for best movie—that was a pitch battle between winner Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby and perennial loser Martin Scorsese's The Avaitor, but Foxx, during his brief time on stage, completely took over the show. He outshone generally subdued host Chris Rock, who’s no Billy Crystal when it comes to this sort of thing, and he radiated the same sort of gospel-rooted charisma as the musician he’d so brilliantly captured in the film.

Foxx’s win could spike Rhino/Atlantic/WSM’s Ray! soundtrack album next week, just as the Grammys juiced sales on Genius Loves Company, although it isn’t likely the soundtrack—which doubles as a satisfying single-disc collection of Charles classics—will duplicate the performance of Genius, which shot back to #1 in the first full sales week following the Grammys.

Like the 2002 Oscars, in which two black artists, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, won the top acting awards, this was a triumphant year for African-American performers, as best supporting actor Morgan Freeman joined Foxx on the male side. In all, five nominations went to black actors, including two for Foxx. "It's kinda like Def Oscar Jam tonight," Rock quipped during his opening monologue.

Afterward, during questioning from reporters, Foxx said, “In our music, in our everyday life, there are so many negative things. Why not have something positive and stamp it with blackness? When I was watching Halle Berry, watching Denzel Washington, it gave me inspiration that I could do my thing too.”

In other music-related moments, Beyonce sang three of the five nominated songs (including a duet with Josh Groban), none of which won the Oscar, nor did Shrek 2’s “Accidentally in Love” by the Counting Crows, who performed it less than convincingly on the Kodak Theatre stage last night. That honor went to “Al Otro Lado del Rio” from The Motorcycle Diaries. Antonio Banderas, who looked liked he’d dipped his head in a deep-fat fryer just before coming on stage, sang it on the show, accompanied by Carlos Santana.

The best original song of last year, Robbie Robertson's "Shine Your Light," from the already-forgotten Ladder 49, didn't get nominated.

During the backstage interviews, the 74-year-old Eastwood got off what was arguably the best line, when he said of his age group, “We’re taking over—me and the AARP.”