Denzel Washington is one of the best black actors working in films today. With his good looks, pleasant demeanor and wide range of acting skills, it’s no wonder his popularity has transcended race and gender.
One of his finest performances in in the 1989 film, “Glory”, where Washington plays a volunteer private in an all black Civil War troop. Under the leadership of a white Colonel, played by Matthew Broderick, Washington’s character not only sees the horrors of war on American soil, but the deep rooted prejudices of the enemy and his own side. He earning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role. Also one of the most important black movies of all time.
In the 2001 film, “Training Day”, Washington won the Best Actor Oscar for portraying a corrupt L.A. narcotics officer. While spending the day with his training charge, played by Ethan Hawke, Washington’s character deals with the routine violence and tragedy that beset the business of illegal drug deals in a big inner city. His trainee, along with the audience, wonder about his ethics as the film gets more and more involved.
The 2016 film, “Fences” earns Washington several Oscar nominations including best director, best actor and best film. His costar, Viola Davis, won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar under his direction for playing the wife of his character. In the film based on August Wilson’s play, his character is a trash collector. Through stories he tells, we learn of his life in 1950’s black suburbia and his character’s uncompromising stubbornness and personal demons. Definitely not a feel good movie.