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Sunday, 15 September, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Denzel dismisses Oscar importance
Denzel Washington
Washington is promoting his movie Antwone Fisher
Actor Denzel Washington has played down the racial importance of his 2002 Oscar win, saying he does not think it holds too much significance for black actors.

His best actor triumph alongside Halle Berry's best actress Oscar was hailed as a huge step forward for black performers in Hollywood.

But speaking at the climax of the Toronto Film Festival he said had not considered the importance of it since winning in March.


It's a great job. It's a very, very serious profession and so to be called a star, I don't like it

Sophia Loren
Also at the Canadian film festival, screen siren Sophia Loren said she refuses to believe she is a star because she has kept herself "grounded".

The two-time Oscar winner was promoting her 100th film, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, Between Strangers with Gerard Depardieu and Mira Sorvino.

"I always like to be with my feet on the ground and do the job as I have to do it," she said.

"It's a great job. It's a very, very serious profession and so to be called a star, I don't like it."

The 67-year-old, who won a best actress Oscar for La Ciociara in 1961 and an honorary award in 1991, said instead she prefers just to be termed an actress.

Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren won an honorary Oscar in 1991
Washington was in Toronto to promote his directorial debut Antwone Fisher, about a black man trying to deal with his abusive past in a foster home.

The 47-year-old was the first African American best actor Oscar winner since Sidney Poitier 38 years ago.

He had been nominated five times before and had won the best supporting award for Glory in 1990.

But is modest about how much the achievement will have on the development of black actors.

"It's a 15-pound statue. I don't put that much in it. I haven't thought about it at all," he said.

He said he had not considered what affect it would have for black actors in Hollywood, believing it was not that simple.

"Sometimes it's not so much what someone else is going to do for you but what you're going to do for yourself," he said.

"That's what's important, not sitting around and waiting for somebody to give you an opportunity."

See also:

10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
16 Aug 02 | Entertainment
11 Sep 02 | Entertainment
05 Nov 99 | Entertainment
22 Mar 02 | Oscars 2002
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