Denzel Washington Has Now Been Nominated For An Oscar In Five Different Decades

With his 10th Academy Award nomination under his belt, Denzel Washington's Best Actor nomination for his breathtaking performance in "The Tragedy of Macbeth" allows him to continue his reign as the most nominated Black actor in history. At 67 years old, Washington has now earned nine acting nominations, but 10 nominations overall, with two nominations for Best Supporting Actor (with one win), seven for Best Actor in a Leading Role (with one win), and one Best Picture nomination as a producer of 2016's "Fences." Thanks to his most recent nomination, Washington has become the eighth actor to have been nominated for an Oscar in five different decades, joining Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, and his "The Tragedy of Macbeth" co-star, Frances McDormand. In the process, Washington also becomes the first Black actor to accomplish the remarkable feat.

His first nomination was for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in "Cry Freedom." Two years later, Washington would win his first Oscar in the same category for his role as Private Silas Trip in the Civil War drama "Glory." His first Best Actor win came on his third nomination as Detective Alonzo Harris in "Training Day." This time around, Washington is up against Will Smith in "King Richard," Javier Bardem in "Being the Ricardos," Andrew Garfield in "Tick Tick...Boom," and Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Power of the Dog." I'm not a betting woman, but I'm feeling in my heart of hearts that Washington's next statue will be for one of the most brilliant portrayals of Lord Macbeth in history.

The Greatest Actor of the 21st Century

Despite his incredible accolades, Washington hasn't won an Oscar in 20 years, as his "Training Day" win took place in 2002. It's a crying shame he's not brought home more statues, but as #OscarsSoWhite has shown us time and time again, the Academy has an embarrassing history with awarding Black performers. Halle Berry still remains to be the only Black woman to ever win Best Actress, also winning in 2002 for "Monster's Ball," and Washington's Best Actor win made him only the second Black man in Oscars history to win the award, following Sidney Poitier's groundbreaking win 38 years prior. Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker became the third and fourth winners for "Ray" and "The Last King of Scotland," respectively.

In 2020, the New York Times named Denzel Washington as the greatest actor of the 21st century (so far), and I doubt anyone would dare second guess this distinction. What sets Washington apart from so many others, is that the man can literally do anything, and I mean, anything. Prestige dramas, biopics, comedies, big-budget action movies, post-apocalyptic adventures, legal thrillers, crime dramas, period pieces, classic literature, Shakespeare, neo-noir, musicals, motivational sports movies, westerns, it doesn't matter — Denzel Washington has done it all, and done it with perfection. Congratulations on five decades of nominations, Mr. Washington. You've more than earned it.

The 94th annual Academy Awards are set to be held on March 27, 2022, at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.