Legendary actor Denzel Washington adding another piece of hardware to his extensive trophy collection. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the AFI Gala last night (June 6th). Many of the top creatives in the film industry including frequent collaborator Spike Lee, Ava Duvernay, Issa Rae, Jaime Foxx, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and yes even Beyoncé packed into the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to pay tribute to the two-time Academy Award-winning icon.

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Oscar winner Jamie Foxx honored Denzel saying, “I just tried to do something different. When I told him, I got a mariachi band, he went: ‘Okay. Okay. Let’s see this mariachi’,” Foxx recalled, employing his best Washington impersonation.

“Mr. Washington’s arrival was a seismic moment for my generation. It was hard to articulate the pride we all felt in seeing one of us as a leading man working at the highest level,” said Oscar winner Mahershala Ali.


Spike Lee, who first worked with Washington on Mo Betta Blues said, “We are talking about the G.O.A.T. We are talking about Michael Jordan. We are talking about Frank Sinatra. We are talking about Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. That is the rarified air that Denzel Washington lives and breathes in.”

Legendary actress Cicely Tyson observed Washington’s commitment to his wife Paula and their family. They made it their business to put their family first, and that is why they are still together,” noted Tyson.

In his acceptance speech Washington said, “If nothing else, I am living proof of the power of God. Anything you think you see, and you think you know where it comes from, the opportunities that I have been afforded, I have been given by the grace of God.”

The AFI Awards will air on June 20 on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network TCM.