Morgan Freeman: The Chosen One
When Morgan received the script for Invictus—a story about Mandela's effort to unite his country through rugby—he knew the day had arrived. "It was perfect," he says.
Morgan's portrayal earned him an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor. This is Morgan's fifth Oscar nomination. He received his first Oscar statuette in 2005 for his supporting role in Million Dollar Baby.
Morgan admits spending time with Mandela was at first intimidating. "What do you say when you meet somebody like that?" he says. "All you can think of to say is, 'I'm honored to meet you, sir.' And then shut up."
Morgan says he wasn't scared to show Mandela the film, but he was concerned. "If he didn't like it, I didn't think he would say anything, but if he did like it, he wouldn't be able to hide it," Morgan says. "And he wasn't able to hide it."
At first, Morgan says Mandela was hard to read. "There's that sphinx thing about him," he says. "But when I came onscreen, he leaned over and said, 'I know that fellow.' So I took that to mean he recognized himself in me, and that was a big plus."
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