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Denzel Washington

47th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoree

一道本不卡免费高清There’s a story told by Denzel Washington, of coming backstage after one of my performances as “Oedipus the King” at St. John the Divine. We didn’t know each other at the time, but he says we met, and then he lingered around the dressing room and even tried on my character’s royal rings.

I have no memory of this.

一道本不卡免费高清However, had I known then what we all know now, I would have paid attention. I would have taken note of what greatness looks like in its earliest days. For I had just met the young man who would become “Denzel Washington.” An aspiring actor backstage is not a rarity, but for the fact that this one would go on to shine brighter than anyone of his generation, on stage and screen.

“There is no BLACK PANTHER without Denzel Washington… because my whole cast, that generation, stands on your shoulders.” —Chadwick Boseman

The American Film Institute presented the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award to Denzel Washington at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Presenters and performers included Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Jodie Foster, Antoine Fuqua, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Hudson, Michael B. Jordan, Issa Rae, Julia Roberts and Cicely Tyson. The televised special aired on TNT on June 20, 2019.

一道本不卡免费高清There’s a story told by Denzel Washington, of coming backstage after one of my performances as “Oedipus the King” at St. John the Divine. We didn’t know each other at the time, but he says we met, and then he lingered around the dressing room and even tried on my character’s royal rings.

I have no memory of this.

一道本不卡免费高清However, had I known then what we all know now, I would have paid attention. I would have taken note of what greatness looks like in its earliest days. For I had just met the young man who would become “Denzel Washington.” An aspiring actor backstage is not a rarity, but for the fact that this one would go on to shine brighter than anyone of his generation, on stage and screen.

What I reflect upon now is how much I deeply appreciate where he was coming from – how hard he was working – taking in shows, watching his peers and honing his craft.

In many ways, what I see today, still, is a young actor – a man whose scale is strictly human, but by creating characters rather than stepping into archetypes, he grows with each performance to be larger than life. His embodiment of each role is so powerful and so universal that he’s rightly embraced as an icon.

一道本不卡免费高清There was a time when it was rare to find role models in our community that stood tall among the great artists of their time – of all time. For me, Paul Robeson paved the way, and Sidney Poitier lit the path. A pioneer and a contemporary – luminaries both, and exceptions to the rule.

Through his work, Denzel carries their work forward – and, in fact, has expanded the appreciation of talent beyond the constraining walls of race. Denzel is a hero to all.

一道本不卡免费高清And now that he occupies an inarguable place in our global culture, there’s a part of me that smiles to believe I may have played a small role in the man he is today. Which is, of course, not true. Denzel Washington has earned every moment, every ovation and every accolade like this great honor from the American Film Institute.

But where I do find pride is that as the years have passed, Denzel and I have walked in the same shoes – Troy in “Fences” and Hickey in “The Iceman Cometh.” Seeing him in those roles felt as if they’d been created just for him because he’s an artist first, and one who not only revels in each and every role, but also in the magical journey of walking in another man’s shoes – and wearing another man’s rings.

Congratulations, my friend.

一道本不卡免费高清James Earl Jones

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THE HISTORY OF THE AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The AFI Life Achievement Award — the highest honor for a career in film — was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 23, 1973 to celebrate an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.

The award is given to a “recipient whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”

In 1993, the AFI Board of Trustees extended the criteria to encompass individuals with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished.