MADRID – Denzel Washington will receive a career achievement 2014 Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at September’s 62nd San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile fest in the Spanish-speaking world.
Washington and director Antoine Fuqua will also present “The Equalizer” at its European premiere, which will open San Sebastian’s 2014 edition on Sept. 19.
Sony Pictures’ big-screen redo of the ‘80s hit TV show, with Washington playing McCall, a hero who helps the hopelessly helpless, “The Equalizer” is already being talked up as a potential awards contender, though it will not be seen until it world premieres at the Toronto Festival where, on paper at least it weighs in as on of the festival’s highlights and commercial heavyweights.
Oscar talk is a reflection, however, of the kudos trawl for “Training Day,” the first teaming of Fuqua and Washington which earned the U.S. actor his second Academy Award after a supporting actor nod for Edward Zwick’s “Glory” and his first best actor Oscar.
A thesp with a ken for big social issue films from high-profile directors, often portraying the multiple contradictions of real-life figures – Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” Norman Jewinson’s “The Hurricane,” or Richard Attenborough’s 1987 “Cry Freedom, where Washington played Steve Biko ”– Washington has shown large range across his career, whether in action thrillers, action comedies (Baltasar Kormakur’s “Two Guns,” for example) or dramas driven by Washington’s pivotal character depiction: One recent example, Robert Zemeckis’ 2012 “Flight.”
Much has been made of Liam Neeson’s second-wind career as an action hero; Washington is just two years younger. Few actors suggest such confidence in front of the camera.
Washington’s career also takes in three Academy Award best actor nominations, for “Malcolm X,” “The Hurricane” and “Flight”; two Golden Globes wins (best supporting actor for “Glory”; best actor for “The Hurricane”); a couple of Berlin Film Festival best actor Silver Bears, for “Malcolm X” and “The Hurricane”; and a Tony Award for the stageplay “Fences.”
Little wonder “The Equalizer” is sparking Oscars talk.