Denzel Washington to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Denzel Washington will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Denzel getting that honor was announced by President Joe Biden today, as part of the president's list of 17 new honorees that will be receiving the Medal of Freedom this year. Not only is this (yet another) milestone achievement for Denzel Washington, he will be the only actor or entertainment figure honored with the award this year, making it an extra nice distinction. 

Other honorees of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom include Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe from the sports world; Sister Simone Campbell and Father Alexander Karloutsos from the religious community; political leaders (Gabrielle Giffords and Alan Simpson); activists (Fred Gray, Diane Nash and Raúl Yzaguirre) and a whole distinguished list of others. 

Denzel Washington's list of accolades includes two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Glory) and Best Actor (Malcolm X) with eight nominations spanning five decades overall – including just this year for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Washington has also won a Tony Award ("Fences"), and Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Add the Medal of Freedom to that list, now, as well. 

As for his acting career: Denzel Washington is gearing up for this third outing as Robert McCall in The Equalizer movie series from director Antoine Fuqua – which will re-team Denzel with his Man On Fire co-star, Dakota Fanning. Fuqua recently teased some new details of the The Equalizer 3, which could take the setting from Boston to Europe, and delve into Robert McCall's origins: 

"We're shooting it in Italy, so that'd be fun. We're going to scout now. Sardinia, probably show up somewhere up the Amalfi Coast. Also, trying to find some small villages, seaside villages, things like that, and then we'll be in Sicily and Naples.

Hopefully, [we will] reveal a little more about Robert. Yeah, I think that's the key, to learn more about Robert McCall."

Offscreen, Washington reminded the world of the power of his very presence this year, in the heat of the Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. Washington was one of the first figures in the audience to jump up and take Smith aside – a matter he later spoke about

"Well, there's a saying, 'When the devil ignores you, then you know you're doing something wrong.' The devil goes, 'Oh no, leave him alone, he's my favorite.' Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it's because he's trying to do something right. And for whatever reason the devil got ahold of that circumstance that night," Washington told Bishop T.D. Jakes

(Photo: A24 Films / Apple TV+)

"Fortunately there were people there. Not just me, but others. Tyler Perry came immediately right over there with me. [Said] some prayers. I don't wanna say what we talked about, but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn? I don't know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer, the way I see it."

Medal of Freedom recipients will be feted on July 7th.