Article Jan 01, 2017

You are no longer passing

Denzel Washington: 'I've lived Oscars' lack of diversity'

Denzel Washington has "lived" the lack of diversity highlighted by last year's (15) all-white Oscar nominees.

In a preview of an interview with U.S. TV show 60 Minutes due to be broadcast on Sunday (18Dec16), the double Oscar-winner shared his take on working in an industry that has, at times, overlooked his work.

After a second year in which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated only white actors in the acting categories, bosses were forced to take steps to increase diversity in the Oscars committee.

And while Denzel is probably one of the most celebrated black actors in Hollywood, with a career spanning 35 years, he has still endured his fair share of snubs.

"I don't have to think about it, I've lived it," said the actor/director when asked his opinion on the lack of diversity among the previous year's nominees. "I’ve been the guy at the Oscars without my name being called, I’ve been the guy at the Oscars when my name is called, I’ve been at the Oscars when everybody thought they were going to call my name and they didn’t. I’ve lived it."

In 1992, Denzel's searing portrayal of militant Black Muslim activist in Spike Lee's Malcolm X earned him an Oscar nomination. However, his critically acclaimed portrayal of Malcolm's journey from criminal to Nation Of Islam minister was snubbed in favor of Al Pacino's performance in Scent Of A Woman. He eventually went on to claim a best actor award for movie Training Day upon his third nomination in the category in 2002.

When asked during the interview what advice he had for those who claim the nominations process is unfair, Denzel agreed it was but he urged his acting peers not to look for excuses to give up.

"Yeah and so what? Give up? If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll find one," he explained. "You can find it wherever you’d like... you can’t live like that. Just do the best you can do."

Denzel has been nominated for six Oscars, winning twice, including a best supporting actor gong for his career-making role in 1989 film Glory.

More recently he has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s hit play Fences alongside Viola Davis, which he also directed and co-produced.