Sunday, February 8, 2009

Denzel Washington

Open Scene:
Date: December 28th, 1954, Action:
The birth of young Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. Born in Mount Vernon to mother Lennis "Lynne", and father Reverend Denzel Washington, Sr., and Cut lol.

Denzel's mother was a beauty parlor owner and operator who was born in Georgia and was partially raised in Harlem. His father, Reverend Denzel Washington, Sr., was an ordained minister of a pentecostal church and also worked for the water Department and at a local department store in the local area called "S. Klein". In elementary Denzel attended Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon. When he was 14 in 1968, he was sent to a private preparatory school, Oakland Military Academy, in New Windsor. He then went to Mainland High School, a public high school in Daytona Beach, Florida for one year between 1970-71. Washington was interested in attending Texas Tech University: "I grew up in the Boys Club in Mount Vernon, and we were the Red Raiders. So when I was in high school, I wanted to go to Texas Tech in Lubbock just because they were called the Red Raiders and their uniforms looked like ours." Nevertheless, Washington earned a B.A. in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University in 1977. At Fordham, he played basketball as freshman guard under the coaching of P.J. Carlesimo. For a period of time Washington bounced around from major to major and for a semester he took time off from school and worked as a counselor at an overnight summer camp. The camp was called Camp Sloan YMCA in Lakeville CT. It was there that he participated in a staff talent show for the campers, and a colleague suggested he try acting. He earned rave reviews when he returned to Fordham that fall with a renewed purpose and focus. He decided to enroll himself in the Lincoln Center campus to study acting. He snagged the title character in both Eugene O'Neill's 'The Emperor Jones', and Shakespeare's 'Othello'.

When he graduated, he was given a scholarship to attend graduate school at the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. It was here that he stayed for one year before deciding to return to new York to begin a professional acting career.
In 1977 shortly after graduating from Fordham, he made his professional acting debut in the made-for-TB movie 'Wilma'. In 1981 he made his film debut in a film called 'Carbon Copy'. His big break came when he starred in the popular television hospital drama, St. Elsewhere from the years of 1982 to 1988. Washington was one of a few actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. In 1987, he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor after starring as a South African Anti-Apartheid political activist Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough's 'Cry Freedom'. In 1989, Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing a defiant, self-possessed ex-slave in the film 'Glory'. that same year, he gave a powerful performance as the conflicted and disillusioned Reuben James, a Caribbean-born British soldier who, despite a distinguished military career abroad, turns to a life of vigilantism and violence upon his return to civilian life in 'For Queen and Country'.

Washington played one of his most critically acclaimed roles in 1992's Malcolm X, along with many other roles taken throughout the 1990's. The movie was directed by Spike Lee, and Denzel's performance earned him an Oscar nomination. Both the influential film critic Roger Ebert and the highly acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese called the movie one of the ten best films made during the 1990s. Malcolm X almost immediately transformed Washington's career, turning him, practically overnight, into one of Hollywood's most respected actors. To avoid being typecast he turned down several similar roles, such as an offer to play Martin Luther King, Jr. The next year, (1993), he took another risk in his career by playing Joe Miller, the homophobic lawyer of a homosexual man with AIDS in the movie Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks. The romantic drama 'The Preacher's Wife' was one of the movies amongs many that he starred in throughout the early and mid 1990s, making Washington a renowed Hollywood leading man.

^Denzel Washington^
The Legend
In 1999, Washington starred in 'The Hurricane' (A very Amazing film which I just so happen to be watching as I write this), a movie about boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, whose conviction for triple murder was overturned after he had spent almost 20 years in prison. Various newspaper articles have suggested that the controversy over the film's accuracy may have cost Washington an Oscar for which he was nominated. Washington did receive a Golden Globe Award in 2000 and a 'Silberner Bär' (Silver Berlin Bear) at the Berlin International Film for the role.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the crowd-pleasing Disney film, Remember the Titans (My brother Loves that Movie--As do I), which grossed over $100 million at the U.S. box office. A year later he was nominated and won an Oscar for Best Actor for his next film, the 2001 cop thriller, Training Day where he played Detective Alonzo Harris, a rogue LAPD cop with questionable law-enforcement tactics. The role was a much-acclaimed change-of-pace for the actor, who was known for playing many heroic leads. Washington was the second African-American performer ever to win an Academy Award in the category of Best Actor (for Training Day), the first being Sidney Poitier, who happened to receive an Honorary Academy Award the same night that Washington won for Best Actor. Washington holds the record for most Oscar nominations by an actor of African descent; so far he has earned five.

Denzel made is directorial debut in 2002 after appearing in the box office hit John Q. He directed a well-reviewed drama called Antwone Fisher in which he also co-starred. 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. In November of that year (2006) the movie 'Deja Vu' was released. Next, he co-starred with Russell Crowe in American Gangster a movie that depicted the life of Harlem Gangster Frank Lucas. Shortly after he directed and starred in 'The Great Debaters with Forest Whitaker.

Personal Thoughts:
There's not much I can say about this man that hasn't already been said. I don't remember the first time I saw his performance on screen, I guess that's because to me his acting has no beginning and has no end. He's been my favorite actor for years and his roles are both convincing and intriguing. I can remember watching Training Day and Thinkin: "Dear god I dont wanna run into this Bad motha (Shut Yo Mouf!) in the street and Then watching John Q and thinging, I wish this man was my pops. He's simply a powerful force once the camera turns on and its the reason why he's the best.


Anonymous said...

I love this post, I'm going to subsribe to ur blog :) My favorite actor is Fran Kranz, he has a FOX show coming out and does an awesome blog on

Hunter's Blog

Just thought you'd like this, as a fellow actor!!

Denna said...

i love this man, i like every movie he plays..