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Denzel Washington was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the Golden Globes on Sunday night.
Tom Hanks introduced Washington, calling him “the actor of our generation” with a “legendary and noble” body of work.
“Great cinema lasts forever, and a great actor will forever astound us. Now, these clips will remind us that a single name can be a superlative synonymous with extraordinary,” Hanks said. “A single name can define an artist who is a peer and equal of all of the greatest legends of our craft. If Washington doesn’t ring out loud enough, then let the first name carry all the weight. And that name is Denzel.”
The actor’s acceptance speech was preceded by a highlight reel of all of his most notable film credits, including Inside Man, Malcolm X and Training Day.
“You really do forget everything you’re supposed to do [up here],” Washington, who received a standing ovation from the audience, said at the podium upon accepting the award. “I’m speechless. I just thank you. I thank the Hollywood Foreign Press. Freddy Fields. Some of you may know Freddy Fields, he invited me to the first Hollywood Foreign Press luncheon. He said, ‘They’re gonna watch the movie, we’re gonna feed them, they’re gonna come over, you’re gonna take pictures with everybody, you’re gonna hold the magazines, take the pictures, and you’re gonna win the award.’ I won that year. I wanna thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for supporting me over the years. They’ve always made me feel like a friend — part of the party.”
He continued his speech by thanking WME’s Patrick Whitesell, Ari Emanuel and Andrew Finkelstein, as well as his first agents Ruth Aronson and Peter Kelly. Midway through, Washington paused and joked that he needed his glasses to read the rest of bullet points he’d pre-written on a sheet of paper to prepare for his acceptance speech.
He attended the show with his wife and three children (his son Malcolm was missing), who also stood on the stage beside him as he received the award.
The honoree has received seven Golden Globe nominations in the past and won twice for his performances in Glory (1990) and The Hurricane (2000).
George Clooney was given the lifetime achievement award at last year’s ceremony. Other previous recipients include Woody Allen, Morgan Freeman, Steven Spielberg and Robin Williams.
The 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Ricky Gervais, took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 10.
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