EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington Was Genuinely Shocked to Win His First SAG Award
By Jennifer Drysdale
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After six nominations, Denzel Washington has finally won his first SAG Award -- and the actor couldn't be more shocked!
ET caught up with the Fences star backstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night, where he explained his genuine surprise when his name was announced, despite delivering an amazing performance in the film.
"Casey [Affleck] has been winning everything so I assumed… I actually prepared a speech in case we won best ensemble, so I said I better be ready just in case because, I knew I had to speak for the cast," Washington confessed. "As the night was going along, I got a feeling. I said, 'Boy, you better start thinking of some things just in case.'"
He may have thought of a few things, but his reaction said it all -- and so did his Fences co-star, Viola Davis.
"That's my girl, I love her," Washington said of Davis' hilarious yelling in his ear. "She's a brilliant, brilliant actor and it's her turn. The actor has met the role now and she deserves everything she's getting, absolutely."
Washington is also proud of his own awards season accomplishments.
"I've been blessed. I've won the SAG, a Tony, three Golden Globes, and two Oscars. I'm blessed. I got no complaints," he said. "This is special tonight for me because I didn't expect it. And I appreciate it because I know actors understand what it is we do."
"It doesn't matter if you're famous or rich or whatever, look, we all open that script the same way, we all have the same apprehension, we all have an opening night, we all have a first day of shooting that we're afraid, and for them to say, 'Hey, we recognize and appreciate what you did,' I'm really moved," he added.
The 62-year-old actor is also nominated for Best Actor at next month's Oscars, making him the most nominated African-American actor in the history of the awards show.
"It's beautiful. It means that because of the people that came before me, I've had the opportunity to get better scripts and therefore get the chances to win," he explained.
"Because of the James Edwards, and Sidney Poitiers, and James Earl Jones, and all those who came before me, Lou Gosetts, and on and on and all the way back, because they laid the groundwork, I have the opportunity to do this," he continued. "Somebody up there tonight, or in this whole cycle, Ali or one of the other guys, are one day gonna do more than me. They set it up for me, and now I've set it up for the next."