Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington joined the likes of Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese when he was awarded the Golden Globe award for lifetime achievement on Sunday. He became only the third black actor to receive it, despite the fact that the award has been running for 60 years.
The 61-year-old was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille award in recognition of his work in front of and behind the camera, and accepted the award alongside his wife Pauletta and three of his children.
In his short speech, which was delayed because of the absence of his reading glasses, Washington thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association “for supporting me over the years”. He then added, “They always made me feel like a friend or part of the party”.
Washington is undoubtedly an immense acting talent and he has featured in a diverse range of roles, from a black activist in ‘Malcolm X’ to a drunken yet heroic pilot in ‘Flight’. He also directed and starred in the 2007 film ‘The Great Debaters’, a film about a professor who coached a debate team from a black American college to national glory.
Known for his ability to play both stern and sentimental characters, Washington is a seven-time Golden Globe nominee who had taken home a Golden Globe award on two occasions before Sunday.
He was introduced to the film industry by co-star in ‘Philadelphia’ Tom Hanks, who has stated, “a single name can define an artist who is a peer and equal of all of the greatest legends of our craft. If Washington doesn’t ring out loud enough, then let the first name carry that weight- and that name is Denzel”.
Denzel Washington becomes the third black actor to receive the honour of being handed the Cecil B. Mille award, after Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman.