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Denzel Washington Wins Maltin Modern Master Award at SBIFF

Denzel+Washington+is+awarded+the+Maltin+Modern+Master+Award+by+Leonard+Maltin+on+Feb.+2nd+at+the+Santa+Barbara+International+Film+Festival
Denzel Washington is awarded the Maltin Modern Master Award by Leonard Maltin on Feb. 2nd at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Denzel Washington is awarded the Maltin Modern Master Award by Leonard Maltin on Feb. 2nd at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Photo credit: Larry Tang

Photo credit: Larry Tang

Denzel Washington is awarded the Maltin Modern Master Award by Leonard Maltin on Feb. 2nd at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

By Susanna Sinclair, Editor-in-Chief

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As Denzel Washington stepped out of the black Cadillac, the crowd exploded, “Mr. Washington, Mr. Washington!” and the distinct sound of a saxophone blared in the background. All the while, the rain poured down.

Denzel Washington, two-time Academy Award winner, Tony Award winner, and Golden Globe winner, was honored on Thursday, February 2nd at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) with the Maltin Modern Master Award, presented by Leonard Maltin.

The Maltin Modern Master Award was created in 1995, and “is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry,” according to the Official SBIFF website. “It was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin.”

Washington’s current film “Fences,” which he directed, produced, and starred in, is nominated for four Academy Awards this year.

Washington slowly made his way from one interview to another, taking the time to have full conversations with each interviewer, and just before he was told to exit the red carpet, he stayed for just one last interview — with the students from Dos Pueblos High School.

In response to advice he would give high school students who have a dream that they might feel is out of reach, he said, “Dreams, without goals, are just dreams, and ultimately they fuel disappointment”

“In order to achieve your dreams, you must have goals. In order to achieve your goals, you must apply discipline and consistency,” Washington said. “Never confuse movement with progress.”

As he exited the red carpet, every reporter raced into the Arlington Theater to watch him take the stage with Leonard Maltin, and discuss his successful career in film.

The event began with a montage of movies that he had starred in, ranging from “Remember the Titans” to his newest film, “Fences.”

When Washington spoke about his character in “Glory” and “Fences,” he said that “you have to love the character that you are playing… never thought either was unlikeable”

Washington also explained that he had to change some scenes in “Fences” to make his character more likable, and to keep his character’s integrity unquestionable.

When Washington discussed “The Hurricane” he mentioned what it was like to meet Rubin Carter, the man that the movie was about.

“He was all love,” Washington said. “That’s just the way he was …  a silver light”

Washington then turned the conversation to his children, and how they changed his perspective.  

“I used to think acting was my life… but when the first one came, that’s life,” said Washington. “Two are in front of the camera, and two are behind it.”

The event proceeded to show clips of some of his most notable roles, from “Glory” to “Malcolm X.”

Washington began to discuss the film and how there was a simple reason why he knew he was right for the part.

“I had the glasses,” he said. Then the whole crowd, including Washington himself, erupted in laughter.

It was during a discussion about the video angles during the film of “Much Ado About Nothing” that Washington began a conversation with an audience member, each explaining why it was either a zoom or crane… which ultimately ended with the audience member confessing that Washington was right, and “I love you!”

After a segment of “The Great Debaters” was shown on screen, Washington explained what it was like to be in charge of the hiring process for that movie. At one point he had to choose between three women for one role, two of those women being Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington, who both were “too strong” for the role he was casting for.

The night concluded with Washington’s co-stars from “Fences” Saniyya Sidney and Stephen Henderson presenting Washington with the award.

Steven Henderson said that he had three things he wanted to do in his life, and one included working with Washington.

“No one, nowhere is more prepared… than Denzel Washington,” Henderson concluded.

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Denzel Washington Wins Maltin Modern Master Award at SBIFF