Roman J. Israel, Esq., starring Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq.ael

 

Denzel Washington will receive the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award, America’s highest honor for a career in film, awarded annually the American Film Institute (AFI).  The award will be presented to Washington at a Gala Tribute on Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA, and the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute special will return for its seventh year with Turner Broadcasting to air on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

“Denzel Washington is an American icon,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chair, AFI Board of Trustees. “As an actor, he stands tall as a heroic, stoic embodiment of the best in all of us, and he does so with heart, humanity and one of the brightest smiles to ever light up the screen. Equally formidable as director and producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with — and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today. AFI is proud to present him with its 47th Life Achievement Award.”

Actor, director and producer Denzel Washington is an iconic leading man whose career spans five decades — an esteemed repertoire ranging from screen to stage, in works defined by his towering presence as heroic everymen, troubling antiheroes and real-life figures with complicated, often controversial histories. His cinematic legacy includes powerhouse, Academy Award®-winning performances in GLORY (1989) and TRAINING DAY (2001), as well as celebrated roles in CRY FREEDOM (1987), MALCOLM X (1992), THE HURRICANE (1999), FLIGHT (2012) and ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (2017), earning additional nominations for each. Washington has crafted compelling, unforgettable characters in recurring collaborations with master directors past and present, bringing stalwart grit and nuanced complexity to films essential to the American canon, such as Jonathan Demme’s PHILADELPHIA (1993), Spike Lee’s INSIDE MAN (2006) and Ridley Scott’s AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007) — and to blockbuster, crowd-pleasing fare such as Edward Zwick’s (AFI Class of 1975) CRIMSON TIDE (1995), Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE (2004) and Antoine Fuqua’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016). A creative force behind the camera as well, Washington has helmed critically acclaimed films, including ANTWONE FISHER (2002) and THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007), in which he also stars. He won a 2010 Tony® for his performance in the play “Fences,” and directed, produced and starred in the 2016 film adaptation that earned him Best Actor and Best Picture Oscar® nominations, as well as AFI AWARDS recognition.

Washington’s filmography also includes MO’ BETTER BLUES (1990), MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1991), THE PELICAN BRIEF (1993), COURAGE UNDER FIRE (1996), THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (2004), THE EQUALIZER (2014) and THE EQUALIZER 2 (2018).

AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients

1973 John Ford
1974 James Cagney
1975 Orson Welles
1976 William Wyler
1977 Bette Davis
1978 Henry Fonda
1979 Alfred Hitchcock
1980 James Stewart
1981 Fred Astaire
1982 Frank Capra
1983 John Huston
1984 Lillian Gish
1985 Gene Kelly
1986 Billy Wilder
1987 Barbara Stanwyck
1988 Jack Lemmon
1989 Gregory Peck
1990 David Lean
1991 Kirk Douglas
1992 Sidney Poitier
1993 Elizabeth Taylor
1994 Jack Nicholson
1995 Steven Spielberg
1996 Clint Eastwood
1997 Martin Scorsese
1998 Robert Wise
1999 Dustin Hoffman
2000 Harrison Ford
2001 Barbra Streisand
2002 Tom Hanks
2003 Robert De Niro
2004 Meryl Streep
2005 George Lucas
2006 Sean Connery
2007 Al Pacino
2008 Warren Beatty
2009 Michael Douglas
2010 Mike Nichols
2011 Morgan Freeman
2012 Shirley MacLaine
2013 Mel Brooks
2014 Jane Fonda
2015 Steve Martin
2016 John Williams
2017 Diane Keaton
2018 George Clooney

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