In 2003, Depp starred in the Walt Disney Pictures adventure film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl , which was a major box office success.  He earned widespread acclaim for his comic performance as pirate Captain Jack Sparrow , and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor . Depp has said that Sparrow is "definitely a big part of me",  and that he modeled the character after The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards  and cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew .  Studio executives had at first been ambivalent about Depp's portrayal,  but the character became popular with audiences.  According to a survey taken by Fandango , Depp was a major draw for audiences.