BIPOC Voices, Entertainment

Don’t sleep on Denzel Washington, 7 films to watch

What would you call someone that’s more than a triple threat?

words by: Natasha Marsh
Oct 24, 2022

Remember the Titans, a high school drama based on the lives of football players in the South, is a staple in my household. As big football fans, we relish in the love of the sport the film depicts and the athleticism of the actors. As people of color, we appreciate the exploration of race, recognition, and acceptance.


Another epic thing about the iconic ‘00s film is how great Denzel Washington is in the movie. Washington is head coach for the Southern football team and with the help of his white counterpart, they teach the young men about football, life, and respect. It’s a brilliant film and I never understood why Denzel wasn’t praised for his performance. The movie came out in 2000 and Washington’s performance has still stuck with me.


The actor began his Hollywood career at the mere age of 7 and has appeared in more movies than you can count on your hands. He is elegant, posed, deep, emotional, and tough. I find it irritating that he doesn’t always get the flowers he deserves, and absolutely shocking that he has only won 2 Oscars in his lifetime (Washington has won 11 Image Awards).


People continue to sleep on the man and this post will serve as evidence and a reminder why Washington is in a league of his own. Ahead, 6 stand out films outside of Remember the Titans in which Washington’s performance left me absolutely speechless and show his true range as an actor.


Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)


The dynamic moral campus that Roman Israel (played by Washington) undergoes is fascinating. We first see him as a civil rights activist, then a low-paid lawyer whose only goal is to protect the civil rights of his defendants.


Malcom X (1992)


How the academy did not give Washington an Oscar for Malcom X is beyond me.


Training Day (2001)


Receiving his second Academy Award, Washington plays a corrupt LAPD detective.


Fences (2016)


In addition to starring as the main character, this was also Washington’s debut film as a director. If you think about his role in this and other roles he’s played, you will get a good gauge of his repertoire.


American Gangster (2007)


Washington plays a Harlem gangster named Frank Lucas in the 2007 film, American Gangster. The story follows the North Carolina born gangster and his journey to smuggling heroin into the United States.


The Hurricane (1999)


You simply cannot deny that the Oscar-winning actor is dedicated to his craft. Case in point: He trained for an entire year to portray boxer Ruben “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane.


No matter how you swing it, you cannot box Denzel. A quick look at this list and the rest of his resume, whole-heartedly proves he is the best and is so dedicated to his craft that he enjoys the challenge of playing a different role.


You will never find yourself saying, oh it’s Denzel doing another, fill in the blank. No. Because he is not that actor that just takes the funny, soppy, romantic, action roles. He is strategic and hand plucks each role to show off his range. And that alone is why he should not be slept on.


We wouldn’t be surprised if Denzel was an actor with a music career as a side gig.


Photo via Warner Bros.