In the last few weeks, there has been outcry over the lack of diversity at the Oscars. Black people quite rightly are aggrieved with the situation at present. But in a time of negativity, one bright moment has been swallowed up by the Oscar crisis. That bright moment being Denzel Washington winning the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes.
It wasn’t the Oscars but nevertheless very few actors achieve the Cecil B. DeMille award. As Tom Hanks noted in his speech when presenting the award, the list of great actors to achieve this award are finite. Possibly aside from Sir Sidney Poitier, Washington is the only other black actor to receive this accolade. In the company of De Niro and Al Pacino, Hoffman.
Washington is just as deserving as the others. Add in the fact that compared to some of the previous winners on the list, Washington has maintained a high performance throughout his career. Compared to the likes of De Niro who goes through highs and lows. It is hard to point out one bad performance by Washington. but he is in the minority. He should have been celebrated more in the aftermath. Instead negative headlines dominated the news.
Washington compared to the likes of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx or any major block buster black actor, may not draw in the same box office figures. However, undeniably if a survey was carried out, Washington would surely be seen as the most reliable, respected and consistent of the major black figures in Hollywood today. At a time when outrage dominates the headlines. A possible alternative is push to Washington forward and use him as a shining example. A black actor who has achieved all the top accolades. Promote him as the champion of black film community.
Add in the reality is that there is not enough films and opportunities being made with black actors/actresses. For a black actor/actress to win, they have to deliver not a great performance, but quite simply an exceptional one in order to stand a chance. Washington has beaten those odds time and time again. The black acting community should look to him to guide them forward.
The reason he possibly hasn’t spoken out yet could be down to him not wanting to be seen as hypocritical. When he has just won the Cecil B. DeMille award. Nevertheless, he should be encouraged to add his voice to the debate. His voice like his performances will not be one of rash, ill-judged move. But one of considered, well-thought opinion. He truly is a solid star that stands out. One that should be celebrated more and should be listened to.