There are few actors or actresses that can be referred to by a single name. While some musicians can get away with it, actors rarely try the tactic. However, when you hear the name Denzel, it is clearly in reference to one man. For the past four decades, Denzel Washington stood alone as one of the most important actors in the world. Now, the American Film Institute, or AFI, will reward him with their lifetime achievement prize.
Washington first broke out in the public eye in the Best Picture-nominated “A Solider’s Story” in 1984. While Denzel missed a nomination, he stood out in the film for his strong and gripping performance. He would cut over to television for a while with “St. Elsewhere” before he received his first Oscar nomination for “Cry Freedom” in 1988. He would win his first Oscar for “Glory” from 1989. Since then, he’s been a cultural icon and force of nature. He picked up 6 more Oscar nominations as an actor and an additional one for producing “Fences” two years ago. He won his 2nd Oscar for “Training Day” from 2001.
Among his numerous performances, he’s got a few that rank as all timers. Perhaps the one that continues to make his fans most angry was his loss of “Malcom X” from 1992. Washington does not have an awards movie in the season this year, but his work in “The Equalizer 2” helped the film make decent money. Truly an actor who can transcend his genres, Washington’s recent work as an action star continues to make him an icon. His career stretches from some of the most dramatic films ever made, into comedy, and even fun action films. He’s one of the all-timers, and this award cements that fact.