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Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (born December 28, 1954)[1] is an American actor, director, and producer. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award,[2] and two Academy AwardsBest Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001).[3]

Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1980s, including his portrayals of real-life figures such as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987), Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane(1999), football coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans (2000), poet and educator Melvin B. Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007), and drug kingpin Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007). He has been a featured actor in the films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and has been a frequent collaborator of directors Spike LeeAntoine Fuqua and Tony Scott. In 2016, Washington was selected as the recipient for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.

In 2002, Washington made his directorial debut with the biographical film Antwone Fisher.[4] His second directorial effort was The Great Debaters, released in 2007. Washington’s third directorial effort, Fences, in which he also starred, was released on December 16, 2016, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[5]


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In 2016, Washington starred in the remake of 1960 western film of the same nameThe Magnificent Seven, alongside Chris PrattEthan HawkeVincent D’OnofrioLee Byung-hunManuel Garcia-RulfoMartin SensmeierHaley Bennett, and Peter SarsgaardPrincipal photography began on May 18, 2015, in north Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The film premiered on September 8 at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United States in conventional and IMAX theatres on September 23, 2016.[37]

In The Magnificent Seven, Washington plays Sam Chisolm (“the Bounty Hunter”), a duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas.[38] His character was renamed from Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner in the original film) to Sam Chisolm.[39] It is Washington’s first Western film.[40]Washington did not watch Westerns growing up, as it was the end of the Western era in the movies. Moreover, he and his siblings were barred from going to the cinema by his father, a minister in a church. They grew up watching biblical films instead, like King of Kings and The Ten Commandments, although he has said that he watched portions of the shows Rawhide and Bonanza.[40][41] He did not view the original film in preparation but has watched Seven Samurai.[40] Fuqua said that Washington, whom he had twice collaborated with, was his first choice to be cast irrespective of the role.[citation needed] The producers were sceptical whether he would take the job since it was a Western film, but Fuqua flew to New York City to negotiate with Washington, who accepted the offer.[42][43]

In 2016, Washington directed the film Fences, co-starring Viola Davis and based on Wilson’s play of the same name, with a script by Wilson. Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Washington plays a former Negro league baseball player working as a waste collector who struggles to provide for his family and come to terms with the events of his life. The film was released on December 16, 2016, by Paramount Pictures. For his performance, Washington was nominated in the Best Actor category for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. In 2017, Washington starred in the legal drama film Roman J. Israel, Esq. His performance was praised by critics and led to nominations for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award, Washington’s ninth Oscar nomination overall, and his sixth for Best Actor.

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