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

Denzel Washington isn't sore about losing an Oscar to Al Pacino, and since both have made some of the best movies ever, the respect is amazing to see.

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

Denzel Washington seems perpetually busy, and whenever he’s interviewed, the subject of the Oscars inevitably comes up. During one such chat, he revealed he understood one of his losses.


Denzel Washington has a healthy attitude towards the Oscars, knowing he’s made some of the best movies ever so not relying on that validation.  You can see as much in a video that went viral fairly recently, of him talking to Jamie Foxx about losing Best Supporting Actor to Sean Connery, who starred in one of the best thriller movies ever, The Untouchables.

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 a 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.”

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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 some of the best drama movies ever, like The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon. “That was his eighth nomination. How could Pacino get eight nominations and not win?”

Of course, Malcolm X is one of the best 90s movies, and Washington’s had a very healthy career even discounting his awards triumphs. Keep an eye on our new movies guide to see where he might show up.