But enough about me. Let's get back to Don Cheadle as Miles Davis.
To me, it's hard to believe that Cheadle has only one Oscar nomination to his credit. Denzel has two Oscar victories and a total of six nominations to his credit. I totally dig Denzel but I find Don Cheadle to be a more fluid, more flexible actor. How many times have you ever heard someone say, "That scene Denzel Washington did was so funny!"? Cheadle can be a cold-blooded killer. Cheadle can make you break up laughing.
Look at Don Cheadle as the Southern California porn actor in 1997's BOOGIE NIGHTS.
Don really hit the right note as the unlikely choice to play Sammy Davis, Jr in THE RAT PACK. Man, he was terrific! Ray Liotta played Frank Sinatra in this HBO TV production and he also delivered one of his best performances. Cheadle is not the singer/dancer that Sammy Davis, Jr. was but Cheadle did move well. The main thing he did so brilliantly was to play Davis' complicated, angry inner self. He was the extraordinary entertainer who was the member of the enormously popular group of guys that made movies like Ocean's 11 and headlined top Vegas nightspots -- but he was the only member of Frank Sinatra's famed Rat Pack who'd suffer racial discrimination no matter how famous he was. Sammy was playing in clubs where black people were not allowed to use the swimming pool. You need to see Don Cheadle in that 1998 HBO feature, available on DVD.
CRASH drove off with the Oscar for Best Picture of 2005. He gives a solid performance in that film as the impressive Los Angeles police detective who seems capable of impressing everyone except his mother. Cheadle's vulnerability is most moving in that film.
In 2007, Kasi Lemmons didn't get nearly enough attention for the highly entertaining biopic she directed called TALK TO ME. By the time Don Cheadle starred in this winner, he had the Oscar nomination for Hotel Rwanda to his credit. Co-starring with him in this comedy/drama are future Oscar nominees Taraji P. Henson (Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Best Actor Oscar nominee for 2013's 12 Years a Slave). Cheadle stars as Ralph "Petey" Greene, a verbally free-wheeling ex-convict who made so many people laugh with his outspoken, edgy humor on Washington, DC radio that he was tapped to be a guest with Johnny Carson on NBC's Tonight Show. Petey was a forerunner to Howard Stern, if you will. Cheadle plays Petey as a hot mess that you just couldn't help but love. Here's a short clip with Don, Chiwetel and Taraji.
Here's another short clip with Don as Petey on the air in his new radio host job.
Miles Ahead opens on Friday, April 1st. It looks like critic A.O. Scott of The New York Times gave some Oscar buzz to Don Cheadle for his performance.