Denzel Washington is by far one of the greatest actors of all time. He is an inspiring actor because he portrays strong and fearless characters such as Detective Alonzo Harris in the movie Training Day and Coach Herman Boone in the football classic, Remember the Titans. Those are just 2 films from his 35-year career, where Denzel Washington has showcased his versatility and sexiness in 42 movies!!
I remember watching Training Day as a kid. Two things stuck out to me from that movie: that classic line, “KING KONG AIN’T GOT NOTHING ON ME!” and him getting shot about a million times right after he said that line. I remember being so sad seeing him die and that line was stuck in my head for a long time. My sister and I kept repeating that all over the house. It drove my mom crazy and I’m sure she regretted letting us watch it.
Even as a kid, his movies impacted my life. I was 8 when I watched the 2000 movie, Remember the Titans. I especially remember Assistant Coach Bill Yoast’s 10-year-old daughter, Sheryl Yoast, who was played by Hayden Panettiere (Heroes). I could relate to her because she was a tomboy and just liked to play with the guys. That was the first time I saw racial tension and discrimination on television and it shocked me. But Denzel played such an incredibly courageous coach in that movie because he kept his football team from killing each other. He trained them to play together with love and unity despite the racial discrimination they had to face in the real world. I loved how Coach Boone was so adamant in making sure they knew, whether they were on and off the field, they had to respect each other. It was such a touching and emotional movie. I cried like a baby when Gerry (Ryan Douglas Hurst) was hit by a car, was hospitalized, and then died at the end of the movie.
Denzel Washington is known for playing real life people. Glory, which won him his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, was set during the Civil War. It chronicles the hardships and experiences of one of the first all-black regiments in the Union army. Denzel Washington played Private Trip, a slave who decides to join the army to escape slavery. The most traumatic and devastating part of the movie that I feel earned him the Academy Award was when he was flogged after being caught for going AWOL. But in reality, he just left to find shoes to replace his old ones because the troops were being denied regular supplies. Sadly, back then, that was not uncommon. The pain and agony that Private Trip showed during his flogging tore me to pieces. I could not believe people could be so cruel to someone who was completely innocent.
I admire Denzel as a person because he is a teacher of the arts. He does his job and he doesn’t let fame go to his head. When working with Denzel in 1993’s Philadelphia, Tom Hanks said that it was like “going to film school”. Hanks said he learned more about acting by watching Denzel than from anyone else. Even Dakota Fanning, who played alongside Washington in Man on Fire, couldn’t stop raving about him.
“He was so nice and I couldn’t wait to see him every day. I was so honored to get to see him every day. He is so focused and he is always trying new things.”
For the movie Training Day he made Academy Awards history two times over because it was the only time in history where an African-American won the Best Actor Oscar and was directed by an African-American director, Antoine Fuqua, at the same time. My dad and I were talking last night about black actors and the Oscars and it got me thinking: could someone else be as talented and famous as Denzel? Be as handsome? Bring so many people to the theaters? Win 2 Oscars? That’s when the search for the next Denzel Washington began.
Could there be a Mini Denzel?
Weirdly enough, the first person that comes to mind in my search is Funnyman Kevin Hart. He is famous for the movies Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man 2, Ride Along and Ride Along 2, Get Hard, and The Wedding Ringer.
He may not be tall, dark, and handsome (well I think he’s cute) but he sure can captivate audiences with his hilarious slap stick comedy and his outrageous antics that are always memorable. He will never run out of lines since he can talk a mile a minute but I can’t help but hang off his every word. He is an amazing stand-up comedian who can make anything seem hysterical. I’ve quoted him so many times, his jokes have become a part of my life. I enjoy watching his fake reality show, Real Husbands of Hollywood because it is entertaining to see him make fun of his celebrity friends. In his comedy tours, he talks about serious issues in his life like his mom dying from cancer and his father’s drug addiction. Despite his rough childhood, he is the epitome of strength, humility, and character. No matter how small he is, he continues to prove that he's larger than life by selling out arenas for his comedy tours. His self-deprecating humor makes him relatable and reachable to audiences of all ages, and that’s what keeps his fans coming back.
Could Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman Be the Next Denzel?
Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman could be the next Denzel because he enjoys portraying real life characters on the big screen. He has played Jackie Robinson in the movie 42, and James Brown in Get On Up. Physically, he fits the description because he is tall, good-looking, and athletic. Similar to Denzel, he is a man that wears various hats in the movie industry as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, and director. In fact, Boseman was about to quit acting altogether after struggling for years to find a breakout role and pursue directing full time before the starring role for 42 came along. Denzel himself is an actor, director, and producer of his films. Boseman seems like a genuine and down to earth guy who picks his roles carefully just like Denzel does. He is relatively unknown worldwide but that may all change once he joins the Avengers as the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and stars in his own movie as the title character in his solo debut, Black Panther.
Could there be a British Denzel?
Idris Elba is a fine glass of British water. Denzel Washington even said that he considers him one of his favorite actors after working with him in 2007’s American Gangster. Already, he has Denzel's stamp of approval!
Idris Elba is an accomplished actor, DJ, and musician and has been in the game for quite some time. He is best known for portraying a drug lord and businessman as Russell “Stringer” Bell in the HBO series, The Wire. But I remember first seeing him as a loving and protective father in Tyler Perry’s film called Daddy’s Little Girls. He played Monty, a man down on his luck whose dream was to own a mechanic shop. Facing the death of his grandmother who helped take care of his three beautiful daughters, he is short on cash and is now battling a huge custody battle with his ex-wife who doesn’t even care about her kids. She just enjoys making his life miserable. He decides to work for a successful businesswoman (Gabrielle Union) as a chauffeur. He falls in love with her but she has a hard time getting past the fact that he was wrongly accused of raping a white woman and ended up in prison. My favorite scene of the film was the fight scene between him and his ex-wife’s boyfriend. I’m not one for violence in movies but I sure was rooting for him when he beat the crap out of his ex-wife’s boyfriend for beating his youngest daughter.
Idris Elba is a chameleon of an actor because he can play anyone from a psychotic killer in Good Deeds to the gatekeeper of Asgard named Heimdall in the Thor movies who possessed superhuman strength, superhuman hearing, and teleportation. The man is so good at his job that I didn't know he was British until I saw him in an interview on BET’s 106 and Park where he started talking in a British accent. My mind was completely blown. Parts of my brain were scattered all over the TV screen that day. Too bad he has to hide it behind an American accent most of the time. He is the complete Denzel package: incredibly good looking, confident, with a British accent that women everywhere could listen to for days. Right, ladies?
How About a Blue-Eyed Denzel?
Michael Ealy…what words could describe how fine this man is? Oh! Wait…what was I doing? Oh right. Writing about his acting career. Sorry, I was too busy drooling. He performed for off-Broadway productions until he landed his breakout role in Barbershop as a former thug trying to make a better life for himself. When I first saw it, I couldn’t take my eyes off him! He was just so gorgeous! I wished girls were allowed to get their haircut by a barber so I could meet him.
I’m sure Michael knows that he is a heartthrob so he makes sure he chooses roles that make people see him for more than a pretty face. He is also known to have a deep personality. I remember his short lived TV series, Almost Human. He played a futuristic android who helped a cop (Karl Urban) solve crimes but his developing emotions kept getting in the way of his job. I didn’t get a chance to watch a whole season but I was disappointed to see it didn’t last long. I think he will make an awesome Denzel because his characters are charismatic, charming, and full of deep emotion. He can go from an obsessive man overcome with rage and jealousy like in the thriller The Perfect Guy, to the funny and cool best friend of Kevin Hart in Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man 2. He can play the leading romantic lover and then turn around and play a seriously demented man who won’t think twice about killing someone. I like the diversity of his roles. For instance, he loves doing independent projects, which shows he is a true actor who doesn’t always need recognition or accolades to feel accomplished. If he doesn’t want to take the crown as the next Denzel, I sure hope his 2-year-old son catches the acting bug so he can follow in his father’s footsteps.
Could "Wanda" be the next Denzel?
I first discovered Jamie Foxx when he was part of the 1990s comedy show, In Living Color, where he played various characters. The most notable character he played was the hilarious Wanda, who was Jamie dressed as a hideous woman and I couldn’t stop laughing when she would try to hit on every guy she could. Here is a video of him playing the iconic character, Wanda:
Jamie Foxx would be an incredible Denzel because he can play both dramatic and comedic roles. I was introduced to him in the Jamie Foxx Show! That’s where he showcased his talents of playing the piano, singing, and showed off his perfect comedic timing! He reminded me of Martin Lawrence because of his ability to play a variety of memorable characters. I enjoyed watching the reruns of the show because it gave me so much joy and laughter growing up.
Along with his comedy talents, he has proven himself to be a tremendously gifted actor and singer, especially in his best known biopic, Ray, which was about the life of Ray Charles from age 19 to 49. I remember watching it for the first time with my grandma and she fell in love with it. It made me feel sorry for Ray because he dealt with so much pain during his life with the death of his mom at an early age, dealing with being blind in a prejudiced world, and having to prove himself. I thought it was so amazing that Jamie Foxx was able to portray a blind man so accurately.
I love that he is a method actor, meaning he lived and breathed being Ray Charles. He wore eye prosthetics that really made him blind for 14 hours a day during shooting. His dedication to his work is astounding to me because while filming the movie Ray, he had to attend classes at the Braille Institute to perfect the role of Ray. He barely slept because he had long hours of filming and then he would go home and stay up late playing piano. His hard work paid off in the end because it earned him an Academy Award! I'm glad that Jamie Foxx didn’t get caught up in the hype after the Oscar win. He continued to work to make movies that change the way people think and feel like in the movie, Django Unchained. He would be the next Denzel because he is down to earth and level headed in the entertainment industry, he puts his whole heart into his work, and he makes us feel joy, pain, and laughter in every movie he is in!
All of these actors have influenced me one way or another and that's why I chose them in my search for the next Denzel Washington. Kevin Hart has made me laugh when I was at my lowest and he inspires me to be a better person. Chadwick Boseman has made black history every time he is on the big screen and he makes me cheer for him every time I see him. I can't wait to watch Black Panther when it comes out in theaters in 2018! It is too long of a wait if you ask me! When it comes to mysterious and good-looking Idris Elba, I love how action-packed and entertaining his movies are. Michael Ealy's blue eyes just stole my heart every time I saw them. I fell in love with him all over again when I realized how deep and sweet he is. Lastly, Jamie Foxx is such a dynamic actor who can make you laugh, cry, and fall in love with him all at once! I just enjoy watching all these actors on screen and I would be proud to crown anyone of these actors: The Next Denzel Washington!