Many were surprised when actor Forest Whitaker wasn't nominated for an Oscar this year for his role in Lee Daniels' The Butler, and folks were even more surprised the film wasn't recognized.
However, Whitaker says he's more about the art of acting than he is about receiving awards, because awards tend to be more for people who celebrate those kinds of things, and nominations and statues aren't what motivate him at all.
"I've been doing this for years and my goal is purely to expand the human experience to expand myself and connection with other people," said the respected actor in an interview with the Huffington Post. "That's my real goal. It's always nice when people celebrate me or my work, but that's not my real marker. It's seems to be more of a marker for others."
Whitaker, who's now 52 years of age, also co-produced Fruitvale Station, a film that documented the murder of Oscar Grant, a Bay Area man who was killed by police in 2009.
Some were also confused why Whitaker didn't receive an Oscar for producing the film, but he says he doesn't involve himself in that kind of chatter and he's happy if people acknowledge him or the film at all. He also said he's proud of the actor's work in Fruitvale Station.
"It was some great performances," he said. "And I think people did acknowledge my work. As far as nominations, you really just can't allow yourself to get caught up. You just have to see how it flows."
Whitaker's next role is in a film called Repentance--opening this Friday--and it's a thriller that also stars Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan and Nicole Ari Parker from the cable series Soul Food.
A respected actor herself, Ari Parker said she was blown away by Whitaker's commitment to the role and she enjoyed playing his wife in the film tremendously. "He was very focused and specific," she said. "It was almost easy to be in a scene with him because he was so powerful....It was wonderful."
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