Jamie Foxx received one of his two nominations for portraying Max Durocher in Collateral.
Jamie Foxx actually is not at all supporting in this film as the cab driver Vincent uses for the ride is the lead, since he even has more screen time than Cruise. Although it is obvious it was positioned this way to allow Foxx two nominations one that allowed him to undeservedly win for Ray, and this one. I will say first off that Foxx is indeed better here than he was in Ray, but that is saying very little in my opinion. This is more of a standard performance from Foxx than does not rely on mannerisms for his performance, but instead he just tries to convey the emotions of the moment.
It is an attempt at a fairly standard lead performance by Foxx since Max is just suppose to be a very standard Cab driver who happens to be in an not so ordinary situation. Foxx shows Max to be a reasonably happy man who has a dream, and does not really have a problem with his job. He than shows a very scared and frustrated man when his life becomes in danger because of the hitman. I will say Foxx is technically fine, when is scared he is scared, when he frustrated he looks frustrated, he is technically does what he needs to for the part.
Foxx though could have done far more in the part than he does, as it is a lead performance, and really he could have made Max simply into a more interesting character with the possibilities given to him. For example Cruise absolutely dominates all of their scenes together. He always controls the scene, and always has the more overpowering presence than Foxx. Yes it is true Vincent should dominate for most of the film anyways, Cruise did not need to technically dominate as much as he does though, since Foxx never seizes any opportunity to stay with Cruise.
Foxx just stays really too standard, and functional in the part. He never reaches for more than just very simple emotions, which although are conveyed correctly, aren't all that interesting. Also later in the film there are two scenes where Max is suppose to do more and Foxx is not up for it. Firstly he must impersonate Vincent in one scene, and Foxx is not at all convincing that he could make the gangster afraid of him in the least. Secondly through the night Max is suppose to become more and more frustrated to the point he finally takes matters in his own hand, but again Foxx is not up to it.
Foxx basically keeps Max at the same level emotionally throughout, he should have slowly become more and more drained, but he just does not. Also his scene where he finally takes matters in his own should have been a powerful moment where Max's strength finally comes out, but in Foxx's failed to build toward this point effectively, and the moment itself feels quite underwhelming. Although technically adequate some of the time Foxx fails to capitalize on the possibilities of his character, and this performance ends up being a missed opportunity.