Denzel Washington is the 2002 Honoree:
- The American Cinematheque Award is presented annually to an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture.
Award Presentation: Tom Hanks
Host: Jamie Foxx
Show Participants: Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Barry Bonds, Cedric “The Entertainer,” Robert Downey, Jr., Steve Harvey, Ethan Hawke, Keanu Reeves, Bruce Willis.
Taped Messages from Mel Gibson & Spike Lee
The Hollywood Reporter was there (reporting from Hollywood and all):
- Presented annually to “an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry currently making a significant contribution to the art of the moving picture,” the award is given to a filmmaker in midcareer. But in the case of Washington- — who this year captured the best actor Oscar for his work in “Training Day” and who is making his directorial debut with Fox Searchlight’s “Antwone Fisher,” to be released Dec. 20 — the lavish tributes that rained down on him at the fund-raising dinner that benefits the American Cinematheque made it clear that in his case no midcareer course correction is necessary.
“There is only one actor in the course of his career thus far who can be appropriately and righteously compared to Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable — as well as Sidney Poitier,” Tom Hanks, Washington’s “Philadelphia” co-star, said in presenting him with the award. “He is their equal in honesty and artistry. So let’s name 2002 the year of Denzel Washington.”
Puckishly acknowledging the fact that Washington is something of a matinee idol as well, Hanks also added, “Women that I know say that Denzel is dreamy. A woman that I am married to confirms this. … In fact, Denzel is dreamy.”
Washington had to submit to some good-natured joshing from the evening’s master of ceremonies Jamie Foxx, who made sport of Washington’s “leading-man teeth”
Dude isn’t ugly. I think Washington is an extraordinary actor of range and gravity, certainly in the league of the legends mentioned by Hanks, as well as Hanks himself. He’s also a true movie star, which is something different from actor – being both is the real trick few achieve.
- In accepting the award, Washington had thanks of his own to extend as he expressed appreciation to Billy Thomas, director of the Boys Club he attended as a youth; his English professor Bob Stone; his first agent Ruth Aaronson; “St. Elsewhere” producer Bruce Paltrow; Poitier, “a mentor and a friend”; his mother and his wife, among others.
“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s sure promise sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already,” Washington said. “Well, in my wildest dreams and desires I never imagined a night like this. It’s been amazing, an amazing journey and an amazing destination.”
Past winners include:
- Nicolas Cage 2001
Bruce Willis 2000
Jodie Foster 1999
Arnold Schwarzenegger 1998
John Travolta 1997
Tom Cruise 1996
Mel Gibson 1995
Rob Reiner 1994
Michael Douglas 1993
Sean Connery 1992
Martin Scorsese 1991
Ron Howard 1990
Steven Spielberg 1989
Robin Williams 1988
Bette Midler 1987
Eddie Murphy 1986
- Tall, strikingly handsome leading man of films and television in the 1980s and 1990s, Denzel Washington was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was the middle child of the 3 children of a Pentecostal minister father and a beautician mother. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University intent on a career in journalism. However, he caught the acting bug while appearing in student drama productions and upon graduation he moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater. He left A.C.T. after only 1 year to seek work as an actor. With his acting versatility and powerful sexual presence, he had no difficulty finding work in numerous television productions. He made his first big screen appearance in Carbon Copy (1981) with George Segal. Through the 1980s he worked in both movies and television and was chosen for the plum role of Dr. Chandler in NBC’s hit medical series “St. Elsewhere” (1982), a role that he would play for 6 years. In 1989 he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Tripp, the runaway slave in Ed Swick’s powerful historical masterpiece Glory (1989)…..