Cuba Gooding Jr.
2006 Black Movie Awards - A Celebration of Black Cinema: Past, Present & Future 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)
An energetic performer who inexplicably countered critically acclaimed dramatic performances with buffoonish comedies, Cuba Gooding, Jr. experienced both serious highs and embarrassing lows in his uneven career. After starting his career as a backup break dancer for Lionel Ritchie at the 1984 Olympic Games, Gooding forged ahead with an acting career with several brief film and television appearances before showing early talent with his subtle portrayal of a bright youth being led down a dangerous path in "Boyz N the Hood" (1991). The role earned him serious consideration from Hollywood, though he failed to take advantage of his newfound clout. For the next few years, he languished in forgettable movies like "Lightning Jack" (1994) and "Outbreak" (1995) before finally striking Oscar gold with his highly infectious performance as an arrogant football star in the winning "Jerry Maguire" (1996). But like "Boyz," Gooding failed to seize the moment, choosing instead to star in "Snow Dogs" (2002), "Boat Trip" (2002) and "Daddy Day Camp" (2007). Though he received strong critical attention for his performances in "As Good As It Gets" (1998), "Radio" (2003) and "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (TNT, 2009), Gooding still had work to do in living up to his early promise.