Denzel Washington understands why Al Pacino beat him for Best Actor at the Oscars

Denzel Washington has been speaking to Variety about the Oscars and understands why Al Pacino won instead of him in 1993

Denzel Washington in Malcolm X

Denzel Washington has been busy promoting two drama movies over the Christmas period – Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (in which Washington stars as Macbeth) and A Journal for Jordan (in which Washington directs star Michael B Jordan). Whenever Washington is interviewed, the subject of the Oscars inevitably comes up. And that is the case for his latest interview with Variety.

Washington has a healthy attitude towards the Oscars, as can be seen in a video that went viral fairly recently, of him talking to Jamie Foxx about losing the Supporting Actor Oscar to Sean Connery in 1988.

Before the award was even announced, Washington says; “I went to get the coats,” he says, while bursting into laughter with Foxx. “Cause I know I ain’t winning tonight. So I’m leaving without the Oscar.”

He continued; “But as I’m leaving, I see them in the back getting the food ready for the Governor’s Ball. I see a big tray, I’m like ‘I’m leaving here with something’. I’m from around the way, I’m leaving with something.”

In the Variety interview, Washington was once again asked about the Oscars and he recalls younger Black actors saying to him; “When you didn’t win for Malcolm X and The Hurricane, we saw those moments as if you can’t win, then what chance do we have?” Washington says; “I never thought of it that way. I was only thinking of myself.”

Washington is aware that the Oscars are all about timing, like when he was nominated for Spike Lee‘s Malcolm X and Al Pacino won for Scent of a Woman, he understood it at the time. “It’s because Pacino should have won a bunch in the ’70s,” Washington says, referring to his performances in films such as The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon. “That was his eighth nomination. How could Pacino get eight nominations and not win?”

Malcolm X is one of the best 90s movies, check out our guide for more.