From winning his long-overdue first Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, to providing the best God there’ll ever be on film, Morgan Freeman is an icon for the ages.
Happy 84th Birthday to the irreplaceable Morgan Freeman! An endlessly versatile, magnificently voiced, living Hollywood legend, Freeman has given us some of the most iconic performances of all time. From Shawshank Redemption‘s resplendent drama to the comedic heights of Bruce Almighty, join us in taking a look at some of the icon’s best work as we celebrate 84 years of the one and only: Morgan Freeman.
‘Driving Miss Daisy’ & ‘Shawshank Redemption’: Freeman for the Masses
If you want Morgan Freeman to narrate your life – and every single thing in it – then you’re far from alone. You also owe this fervent wish to the magnificence of Shawshank Redemption.
This 1994 classic brought Morgan Freeman household name status for his commanding, Oscar-nominated performance. But above all, it gave audiences a film narrated by the untouchable voice of Morgan Freeman. He’s been the gold standard for narration ever since, and the world is a better place for it.
Five years prior, however, Morgan Freeman’s “true” breakout role would come in Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Both films are regularly included in “best films of all time” lists, and for damn good reason(s). The tension between Freeman’s Hoke and Jessica Tandy’s titular character creates both comedic and dramatic gold, and launched the actor into decades of Hollywood blockbusters.
Turn of the Century Brings God & Batman to Morgan Freeman
Action megahits like Se7en (1995) and Deep Impact (1998) would keep Morgan Freeman on the map throughout the 90s. While he was never seen as less than an A-lister, his career would reach new heights at the turn of the century.
In 2003, one of the greatest comedies of all time (yes, you read that right.) was born. Bruce Almighty stars Jim Carrey as the titular Bruce, an arrogant, out-of-touch newscaster who comes to doubt God. And who better to play God than Morgan Freeman?
It’s a role any other actor would say “not a chance” to, but Freeman’s understated charm, charisma, and brilliance lends itself perfectly to the role of “The Creator”. In lesser hands, this portrayal of “God” would have led to riots in the streets. In short: Freeman’s casting was a stroke of genius. No one else could’ve made this work so flawlessly.
And then there’s Christopher Nolan’s untouchable Dark Knight Trilogy. Within, Nolan brought audiences another masterstroke of casting with Morgan Freeman stepping into the role of Lucius Fox for 2005’s Batman Begins. The Wayne Enterprises elder and tech savant proved an invaluable mentor to Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne throughout the entire trilogy – as much a moral compass for the character as his ever-faithful butler, Alfred (Michael Caine.)
Some of the trilogy’s absolute best lines come courtesy of Freeman’s Fox, his presence serving to elevate the franchise above previous “popcorn camp” stigma. Finally winning his long-overdue Oscar the year before helped with that, too.
Freeman’s Long Friendship with Clint Eastwood Led to Oscar Gold
Make no mistake, Morgan Freeman needs the help of no one to be worthy of an Oscar. In Hollywood, however, it doesn’t hurt to have a friend like Clint Eastwood who happens to make stellar films.
The pair first worked together on Eastwood’s last Western, Unforgiven, in 1992. The pair would reunite over a decade later for 2004’s Million Dollar Baby – a breakout critic’s darling of a masterpiece that would finally net Freeman his first Oscar after four nominations.
Relive this brilliant moment below as the Oscars crowd – full of Morgan Freeman’s piers – goes absolutely wild for his long-overdue win. If anything shows you the love, respect, and admiration this life has for Freeman – this is it:
Morgan Freeman winning an Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Million Dollar Baby” – 77th Annual Academy Awards® in 2005. Presented by Renee Zellweger.Oscars
Happy Birthday, Mr. Freeman! Here’s to many more.