PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: DENZEL WASHINGTON & THE OSCAR CONTROVERSY

The recent controversy surrounding this year’s Oscar nominations lack of color got me to thinking about another of my older writing assignments. I didn’t take to the assignment right away, but once I got into the research of the subject, I certainly did.
Denzel Washington’s career, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating in film history. Successes and failures abound, like all leading actors, but the work itself is an amazing exploration of our changing times. His body of work recently earned The Golden Globes’ prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award (are you listening American FIlm Institute?) and in watching his highlight reel, I was once again struck by how impressive his films were and still are.
Beleive it or not, writing about his life and work for Lucent Books’ People in the News Series helped me immeasurably when it came to actually writing LEE MARVIN : POINT BLANK. How did it help? It made me more fully aware that one of the most important aspects of an actor’s work that lives on long after the actor, is a theme or themes that permeates the work for audiences decades to come. It was certainly true in Lee Marvin’s case as it is Denzel Washington’s. Long live the truly great actors!
As to the Oscar controversy, while I often agree with the concept of boycotts, I think boycotting such an award show is self-defeating. Do the organizers really think such a move will result in future nominations for people of color? Seems doubtful. Lots of heat with very little light. If they really want to see more Oscar diversity, they should take it upon themselves to make better films with actors of color in which the character’s color, really doesn’t matter. In other words, take a tip from the films of two-time Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington, especially in the section on how Spike Lee was able to complete Malcolm X. It’s called putting words into action…..

The cover of my 2010 People in the News young adult biography on Denzel Washington.

The cover of my 2010 People in the News young adult biography on Denzel Washington.

The book's Table of Contents, in which the need for clever titles and several bibliographies, also helped in my writing of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

The book’s Table of Contents, in which the need for clever titles and several bibliographies, also helped in my writing of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

The introduction taught me to write the intro last as you never know where the research will take you. Oh, and by the way, he did go back to school and the lady with the vision, was a church elder.

The introduction taught me to write the intro last, as you never know where the research will take you. Oh, and by the way, he did go back to school and the lady with the vision, was a church elder.

Two sidebars per chapter are a requirement for each title so it allowed me to delve into The Boys & Girls Club of America's interesting history. Opposite page shows Denzel in front of a photo of himself as a youngster as he himself is surrounded by current Club members.

Two sidebars per chapter are a requirement for each title so it allowed me to delve into The Boys & Girls Club of America’s interesting history. Opposite page shows Denzel in front of a photo of himself as a youngster as he himself is surrounded by current Club members.

Denzel Washingtons performance in MALCOLM X, alog with TRAINING DAY remain two of all time favorites and writing about them is one of the joys of what I do for a living.

Denzel Washington’s performance in MALCOLM X, along with TRAINING DAY, remain two of my all time favorites and writing about them is one of the joys of what I do for a living.

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