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Stellar year makes Denzel the best

Los Angeles, Dec. 13 (Reuters): Capping a stellar year for actor Denzel Washington, showbiz magazine Entertainment Weekly picked the Oscar winning actor and, now, director as 2002’s top entertainer in its latest edition.

“Denzel reached new heights in his career this year, artistically, commercially and in a business sense,” said Dave Karger, senior writer and author of the magazine’s cover story on the actor. Following Washington on the list was Spider-Man Tobey Maguire in second, The Osbournes third, actress writer Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fourth and rounding out the top five were Simon Cowell and Kelly Clarkson from hit TV show American Idol.

Karger said that it wasn’t so much what Washington had accomplished winning Oscars or scoring big at box offices, but in directing his first movie, the personal drama Antwone Fisher, which opens in New York on December 19.

“And its not only that he directed his first movie, but it is a fantastic movie ... It’s not that he did it, but that he did it in a really accomplished way,” Karger said.

Still, add up the 2002 accomplishments for Washington, and it's a pretty impressive list.

In March, he earned the best actor Oscar for playing a corrupt cop in Training Day, becoming only the second Black American to claim Hollywood’s highest acting honour — Sidney Poitier was the first in 1963’s Lilies of the Field.

The Oscar was his second after taking supporting actor honours for 1989’s Glory. It came as his John Q, in which he plays a man who takes over a hospital emergency room because he can’t get attention for his sick son, was claiming a box office victory after few industry pundits had given it much a chance.

Washington, too, scored his first $20 million paycheck for thriller, Out of Time, putting him among Hollywood’s highest paid leading men.

To top it all off, his directorial debut, the low budget drama Antwone Fisher, about a young man’s heroic efforts to find the family that abandoned him, is also receiving — you guessed it — Oscar buzz.

But if there is one man who doesn’t care about so much about all that Oscar attention, it is Washington. He tells the magazine that despite being an Academy member, he doesn’t even vote in the annual awards. “My wife takes care of that because she’s a real film buff,” he said. “They may throw me out of the Academy or whatever, but she actually watches them all.”

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