Two-time Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington was named Friday the recipient of the 47th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, the organization’s highest honor.
“Denzel Washington is an American icon,” AFI Board of Trustees Chairman Howard Stringer said. “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 as producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with — and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today,” he said.
Washington will be honored at a tribute gala on June 6.
The AFI Life Achievement Award honors a person “whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”
Last year’s award went to George Clooney. Previous recipients include James Cagney, Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory Peck, Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Bette Davis, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Jack Lemon and Dustin Hoffman.
Washington, 63, is a nine-time Oscar nominee, winning twice — for his supporting work in 1989’s “Glory” and for best actor for 2001’s “Training Day.” He was most recently nominated for best actor for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and for his lead acting and producing work on best-picture nominee “Fences.”
His other acting credits include films such as “Cry Freedom,” “The Hurricane,” “Malcolm X,” Philadelphia” and “The Magnificent Seven.” He directed the films “Fences,” “The Great Debaters” and “Antwone Fisher.”