“How could Pacino get eight nominations and not win?”: Denzel Washington Knew He Was Going to Lose to Al Pacino in the Oscars Race

ow could Pacino get eight nominations and not win?": Denzel Washington Knew He Was Going to Lose to Al Pacino in the Oscars Race
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Denzel Washington is an actor who doesn’t require the validation of Oscar awards to prove himself as an actor. Starring in several iconic roles in notable movies back in the early 2000s and 2010s, Washington has more than enough movies in his name to prove himself.

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Talking about how he is a humble guy, Denzel Washington wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t win an Oscar back in the 1990s. In an interview, the actor revealed that Al Pacino had been nominated eight times before, so he knew beforehand that Pacino was going to win this time but Washington didn’t mind.

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent Seven.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent Seven.

Denzel Washington Knew Al Pacino Deserved To Win

With prominent roles, Denzel Washington and Al Pacino have starred in equally iconic roles in famous movies. Although Pacino found fame earlier, Washington understood that the fellow actor deserved every award that came his way because he had earned it.

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Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II
Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II

Also read: “I’m going to be sent home via crematorium”: Ryan Reynolds Saw His Career Flash Before His Eyes after Hitting Denzel Washington

Back in 1993, Al Pacino was nominated for the award of Best Actor in a Leading Role. During that same time, Washington was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Malcolm X. In an interview with Variety, the actor talked about how he already knew that the Oscar was meant for Al Pacino and not Denzel Washington.

“It’s because Pacino should have won a bunch in the ’70s. That was his eighth nomination. How could Pacino get eight nominations and not win?”

Not only that but after the actor won two Oscars, he would let other people hold them and give Oscar speeches out of his goodwill, as recalled by screenwriter Virgil Williams.

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Suggested: “He gave me a hard time the entire shoot”: Denzel Washington’s Son Had a Tough Time With Christopher Nolan After Director Caught Him Cheating While Filming

Denzel Washington Heard Oscar Speeches With His Own Oscars

Samuel L. Jackson with Denzel Washington
Samuel L. Jackson with Denzel Washington

Related: “That didn’t make sense”: Before Equalizer Gave Him His Career’s First Franchise, Denzel Washington Was Asked Only Once to Return for Sequel to $208M Ryan Reynolds Thriller

Later on, the actor found two Oscars to his name for the category of Best Actor in a supporting and leading role. Screenplay artist Virgil Williams described to Variety what it was like working alongside Denzel Washington for the 2021 film A Journal for Jordan.

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Williams revealed that in one meeting, he went to Washington’s library and asked him if he could hold his Oscar for a while. Washington, in turn, supported him to hold both the Oscars and would not sit up till Virgil Williams gave an Oscar speech!

“He sat there and did not move until I gave an Oscar speech. When I was finished, he said to me: ‘OK, let’s go back to work.’ I’ll carry that day with me for the rest of my career. In this industry, I’ve never been able to directly, face to face, look up to a Black man.”

With awards and accolades to his name, the actor was last seen in the 2023 film titled The Equalizer 3. Denzel Washington is also attached to Gladiator 2 which is currently in pre-production. The 2023 film is currently screening in select theaters across the U.S.

Source: Variety

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Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2026

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.