The first 20-odd years of Ray Charles’ career become a riveting musical biography, written by James. L. White and directed by Taylor Hackford at the absolute peak of his game. As Charles, Jamie Foxx is—let’s not mince words—brilliant, an uncanny recreation that goes beyond simple impersonation. He shows us the Ray Charles we all know and then peels back the familiar smile to show the driven genius underneath, warts and all. (Foxx’s Oscar is a foregone conclusion; they might as well just hand it over now.) The look and sound of the film are note-perfect in every sense (Foxx lip-syncs Charles’ singing and, in early scenes before his distinctive vocal style is set, sings very well himself), as is the supporting cast—especially Kerry Washington as Charles’ wife and Regina King as one of his many mistresses.