Denzel on the Guts, Pain, Tears of 'Flight'

The Oscar winner says his new movie is a complex adventure. Plus: He recalls 20-year-old Malcolm X.

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Although Washington declined to comment on how he felt about the X snub ("That's old news"), he had already won an Oscar for his supporting role in 1989's Glory -- the first time we saw that one tear fall. He wouldn't win the big prize until 2002, for his rogue cop performance in Training Day, on the same memorable night that Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win best actress, and Sidney Poitier, the first brother to win best actor, was honored with a lifetime-achievement golden boy.

"I don't get all caught up in that," said Washington, who probably should have won for The Hurricane, a film that was released a year before Training Day (in which he played the titular boxer wrongly convicted of murder who fought to prove his innocence). "The awards are nice, but it's about the work. It's very rare -- and I read a lot of scripts -- but this one, I felt like I read it in 14 minutes because I was turning the pages so fast. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. This was one of those scripts, I had to be a part of it. It was on the page -- the guts, the pain, the tears."

Miki Turner is an award-winning photojournalist in Los Angeles.

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