Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 2/23/2018

by Just Juan

Next Sunday is the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, where members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will gather to honor the best films of 2017. For the most part, I didn’t have much issue with the nominees when they were announced last month. Most of them were well earned based on what I saw. I did, however, have an issue with Denzel Washington getting a Best Actor nom for Roman J. Israel. While I think Denzel played great in the role, I didn’t think it was Best Actor-worthy. Anyway, that brings me to this week’s Black History subject in the Flashback Friday series: Denzel Washington.

How I first came across this subject? My discovery of Denzel Washington was back in 1992. I was watching Ricochet with my mother. I was really into the film for 2 reasons: (1) it starred Ice-T, whom I loved in New Jack City and (2) the whole “You wanna find out who really got the power? Bring your punk ass to the tower!” line. But a relatively young Denzel—37 years old—at the time impressed me.

What it meant to me then? As I just wrote, I was certainly impressed. Denzel’s acting was very quality. Even a then 7-year-old like myself could sense that. It only got better from there when I saw Malcolm X, The Mighty Quinn, Mo’ Better Blues, Philadelphia, Glory, Crimson Tide, and The Preacher’s Wife over the next 5 years. Some of the best thriller films I’ve ever seen have featured him in a starring role. Think Man on Fire, Inside Man, Training Day, and The Bone Collector. If I needed a film to challenge my eyes on what they were seeing, Denzel always answered the call and I was appreciative of that.

What it means to me now? In recent years, I haven’t seen too much of him on the silver screen. I know he has The Equalizer 2 coming in a few months to follow up the 2014 thriller. He did Fences a couple of years back and of course, Roman J. Israel. He’s getting up there in age—at 63—so I guess it’s about time for him to slow down a bit. Nevertheless, I’m still in awe of his range and the attention to detail in his performances. He can take on any historical role and make it quite accurate. Even the roles he had that came straight out of novels, he nailed. When it’s all said and done, he may go down as one of the Top 5 actors of all-time. I’m going to enjoy him while he’s still making films. Hell, I’m gonna go back and watch some of his old stuff that I haven’t yet…like The Pelican Brief and Devil in a Blue Dress.

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