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Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film: Laurence Fishburne

WHY: As “The Matrix’s” Morpheus, Fishburne had a key role in one of the more successful film franchises in the last 10 years, with its three films taking in nearly $1 billion collectively at the domestic gate.

THE BARD CARD: Certainly, Fishburne stands out as a skilled dramatic actor, as evidenced by his 1995 cinematic turn as Othello. According to a 1995 Variety review: “Fishburne’s only previous contact with Shakespeare was reciting the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy in the 1980 film ‘Willie & Phil,’ but he tackles the challenging role head-on and grapples successfully with its eloquent language and churning emotions.”

But it’s the blockbuster season to come that probably more excites exhibs about the Tony-winning actor, who will star this spring in the third installment of Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible” series — the first two films have already generated more than $1 billion in global box office. Fishburne also produces stars alongside Angela Bassett in Lionsgate’s “Akeelah and the Bee,” a film about a South Los Angeles girl (played by Keke Palmer) who works her way into the National Spelling Bee.