DENZEL Washington didn’t always have an interest in acting. The actor first studied journalism at Fordham University before discovering his passion for acting. He took some time off college, and when he came back in 1977, he graduated with a BA in Drama and Journalism.
His movie debut was in a comedy titled Carbon Copy in 1981. Since then, he has been cast in hit movies like Philadelphia, The Book of Eli, Man on Fire, American Gangster, Flight, and several others.
The actor also received Oscars for his roles in Glory and Training Day and an Oscar nomination for his performance in Fences.
Washington is one of the few actors who have bagged two Oscars, a testament to his awesome talent. However, fans feel there are even more roles he should have won an Oscar for, but he didn’t. One of those roles was his portrayal of Malcolm X in the titular movie.
Washington’s Oscar loss in Malcolm X
Washington’s performance in Malcolm X was stellar and branded him as one of the greatest actors of his generation. His character was described as commanding, bold, compassionate, powerful, and Washington brought all that and more to the movie, so the results were awe-inspiring.
Despite this, the Flight actor went home without an Oscar for the Best Actor award in 1993. He lost to Al Pacino in his Scent of a Woman.
Most fans felt like Pacino’s award was to make up for his loss in 1975 when he didn’t get the award for his role in The Godfather Part II. Instead, the Best Actor award was given to Art Carney for Harry and Toronto.
Washington won the award years later for Training Day, but it was mostly seen as a consolation prize for the Academy’s obvious snub years ago.
Spike Lee vents about the Oscar loss in She’s Got To Have It
Malcolm X director Stan Lee was one of the people who believed Washington’s performance in the movie deserved that award, and he wasn’t quiet about it. Lee made his grievance about the issues known years later when he referenced it in one of his TV shows.
In his Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, Lee spoke about the Oscar snub through the characters Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) and her lover Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos). The two launched a conversation in their apartment about Malcolm X and why Washington wasn’t given an Oscar for his acting.
“That was some shenanigans; some subterfuge; some straight skullduggery,” Mars says to Nola.
“He was too black; too strong,” Nola replied. “Al Pacino, though? Come on.” Nola then explained that Pacino won because Hollywood tried to make up the actor’s previous loss.
“So they gave Pacino his long-overdue Oscar, and then Denzel gets his make-up call Oscar for Training Day, which he should’ve won anyway, so the Academy still owes D another one,” Nora continued.
Why Washington didn’t mind the Oscar loss
Compared to everyone else, Washington took the Oscar loss considerably well.
The actor revealed that he wouldn’t have been as happy if he had won that Oscar because he felt like it was Pacino’s time. He already had an Oscar for his role in Glory, whereas Pacino was still lacking.
In an interview with Playboy, he said: “I was already 1 for 2 or something. When he won, was 1 for 3, batting .333. I was OK with that. When I didn’t win some of these awards, other people were angrier about it than I was.”
Washington added: “I know it’s a cliché, but I genuinely feel good about being invited to the party.”
Why Washington was boycotted for another Oscar
Washington in Philadelphia was another amazing performance that fans could not get over. Here, the actor starred beside Tom Hanks, but wasn’t nominated for an Oscar like Hanks was.
In the same Playboy interview, the multiple-time Oscar-winning actor explained why he wasn’t nominated and why it didn’t bother him as much as it should have.
“The studio had two guys who could be up for the lead,” Washington said. “And they did not want to split the vote. The movie was about Tom’s character, and they wanted to get behind him.”
He also said he felt it was Hanks’ time because he already had an Oscar.
“I didn’t get nominated, but I’d been nominated three times and won already. Tom was known for comedy at the time, and he’d just done A League of Their Own. Philadelphia was one of his first serious roles. Did it hurt? Sure, but I never let it eat me up.” — The Blast