Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, director, and producer. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001).
Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1980s, including his portrayals of real-life figures such as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987), Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane (1999), football coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans (2000), poet and educator Melvin B. Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007), and drug kingpin Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007). He has been a featured actor in the films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and has been a frequent collaborator of directors Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua and Tony Scott. In 2016, Washington was selected as the recipient for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.
In 2002, Washington made his directorial debut with the biographical film Antwone Fisher. His second directorial effort was The Great Debaters, released in 2007. Washington’s third directorial effort, Fences, in which he also starred, was released on December 16, 2016, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the Disney film Remember the Titans which grossed over $100 million in the U.S.At the 57th Golden Globe Awards, Washington won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his work in The Hurricane. He was the first black actor to win the award since Sidney Poitier in 1963.
Washington won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2001 cop thriller Training Day, where he played Detective Alonzo Harris, a corrupt Los Angeles cop. He was the second African-American actor to win the category after Sidney Poitier, who was presented with an Honorary Academy Award the same night.
After appearing in 2002’s box office success, the healthcare-themed John Q., Washington directed his first film, a well-reviewed drama called Antwone Fisher, in which he also co-starred.
Washington after a performance of Julius Caesar in May 2005. Between 2003 and 2004, Washington appeared in a series of thrillers that performed generally well at the box office, including Out of Time, Man on Fire, and The Manchurian Candidate. In 2006, he starred in Inside Man, a Spike Lee-directed bank heist thriller co-starring Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, released in March, and Déjà Vu.
In 2007, Washington co-starred with Russell Crowe, for the second time after 1995’s Virtuosity, in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster. He also directed and starred in the drama The Great Debaters with Forest Whitaker. He next appeared in Tony Scott’s 2009 film The Taking of Pelham 123 (a remake of the 1974 thriller of the same name), where he played New York City subway security chief Walter Garber opposite John Travolta’s villain.
Return to theatre
In the summer of 1990, Washington appeared in the title role of the Public Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. In 2005, he appeared onstage again as Marcus Brutus in a Broadway production of Julius Caesar. Despite mixed reviews, the production’s limited run was a consistent sell-out. In the spring of 2010, Washington played Troy Maxson, opposite Viola Davis, in the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play on June 13, 2010.
Washington’s signature in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
From April to June 2014, Washington played the leading role in the Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon.The show received positive reviews and won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
Beginning March 22, 2018, Washington starred as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman in a Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. The production, directed by George C. Wolfe, began regular performances April 26 and ran for 14 weeks.
Washington with Anne Hathaway at The Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2010
In 2010, Washington starred in The Book of Eli, a post-Apocalyptic drama set in the near future. Also in 2010, he starred as a veteran railroad engineer in the action film Unstoppable, about an unmanned, half-mile-long runaway freight train carrying dangerous cargo. The film was his fifth and final collaboration with director Tony Scott, following Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Déjà Vu (2006) and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
In 2012, Washington starred in Flight, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. He co-starred with Ryan Reynolds in Safe House, where he prepared for his role by subjecting himself to a torture session that included waterboarding.In 2013, Washington starred in 2 Guns, alongside Mark Wahlberg. In 2014, he starred in The Equalizer, an action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series of same name starring Edward Woodward.He reprised his role in his first sequel, The Equalizer 2 (2018).
In 2016, Washington starred in the remake of 1960 western film of the same name, The Magnificent Seven, alongside Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, and Peter Sarsgaard. Principal photography began on May 18, 2015, in north Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The film premiered on September 8 at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United States in conventional and IMAX theatres on September 23, 2016.
Washington at the premiere of The Equalizer in 2014
In The Magnificent Seven, Washington plays Sam Chisolm (“the Bounty Hunter”), a duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas. His character was renamed from Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner in the original film) to Sam Chisolm.It is Washington’s first Western film.Washington did not watch Westerns growing up, as it was the end of the Western era in the movies. Moreover, he and his siblings were barred from going to the cinema by his father, a minister in a church. They grew up watching biblical films instead, like King of Kings and The Ten Commandments, although he has said that he watched portions of the shows Rawhide and Bonanza. He did not view the original film in preparation but has watched Seven Samurai. Fuqua said that Washington, whom he had twice collaborated with, was his first choice to be cast irrespective of the role. The producers were sceptical whether he would take the job since it was a Western film, but Fuqua flew to New York City to negotiate with Washington, who accepted the offer.
In 2016, Washington directed the film Fences, co-starring Viola Davis and based on Wilson’s play of the same name, with a script by Wilson. Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Washington plays a former Negro league baseball player working as a waste collector who struggles to provide for his family and come to terms with the events of his life. The film was released on December 16, 2016, by Paramount Pictures. For his performance, Washington was nominated in the Best Actor category for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. In 2017, Washington starred in the legal drama film Roman J. Israel, Esq.. His performance was praised by critics and led to nominations for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award, Washington’s ninth Oscar nomination overall, and his sixth for Best Actor.
Denzel Washington, will be honoured at this year’s National Film & TV Awards on the 5th of December 2018