Denzel Washington Reveals How He Deals With Hollywood Criticism

Denzel Washington recently talked about how he deals with criticism coming from Hollywood circles. It's an interesting approach.

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Denzel Washington wouldn’t seem like the kind of guy or actor who would have had to deal with a lot of criticism throughout his career. After all, this guy has been one of the premier talents in the industry over the last few decades, taking some of the most difficult roles and having an iconic turn here and there. But like anyone in the limelight, Washington has faced his fair share of negativity over the years and apparently has a specific way of dealing with it. 

In an interview with The New York Times (via CinemaBlend), Denzel Washington sat down and talked about how he has been able to shut out some of the criticisms and, at times, the negativity that inherently comes with the industry. For a guy who’s made a ton of great movies, but had some stinkers in there as well, the mindset around the work can sometimes be as important as anything else. And when it comes to the idea of Hollywood, Denzel Washington clearly has views that are outside of the typical actor. In response to how Hollywood’s reaction to films has shaped his career he had this to say:

 “Hollywood is a street. I live in Los Angeles. I don’t live in Hollywood. I don’t know what Hollywood thinks. It’s not like it’s a bunch of people who get together on Tuesdays.”

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For most on-screen talents, this perspective is likely much easier said than done. After all, the reference here is to the industry as a whole, and clearly not just the aforementioned street to which Denzel Washington is talking about. But the overall point is clear: he doesn’t have much time to think about the collective response to his work, especially within the industry. He puts in the work and lets the chips fall where they may. For the most part, this approach has worked for the actor who has been among the industry’s brightest and most talented stars for some time now. 

And things could be getting brighter for Denzel Washington, at least on the recognition front. That could be with his upcoming The Tragedy of Macbeth which is headed for screens on December 25th of this year. The adaptation of the William Shakespeare play is the first solo directorial work by Joel Coen after working with his brother Ethan all these years. Washington is set to star as the titular Lord Macbeth opposite Frances McDormand. Early buzz around the movie has it headed towards the awards circuit early next year and the timing of the release, along with the limited theater run, is clearly meant to put it among the Academy Awards shortlist. Critical response has been near-universal with its praise. The movie is sitting at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes

And if it happened, it wouldn’t be the first time Denzel Washington walked home with some awards hardware. He first won for Best Supporting Actor in 1990 for his role in Glory. He then won Best Actor for Training Day in 2002. He’s also received nominations for Malcolm X, The Hurricane, Flight, and Fences. This could be just another nod for one of the great actors of a generation. When it comes to the work he’s done, it makes sense why Denzel Washington wouldn’t be sweating the voices inside “Hollywood”. He’s owned this town for years now.