Denzel Washington Wins His First SAG Award: ‘Fences’ Actor Admits He ‘Didn’t Have Faith’, But Will He Win His Third Oscar For The Same Role?

Actor Denzel Washington walked away with a SAG Award for the first time in his critically-acclaimed career Sunday night.

The Fences actor and director won the award for “Male Actor in a Leading Role” – an award that many people assumed would go to Casey Affleck for his performance in Manchester by the Sea or even Ryan Gosling for his impressive performance in La La Land. As heard in Washington’s award acceptance speech, he was even on the list of people who initially doubted he would walk away as the winner of that category in light of the competition stacked against him.

“You know, I’m a God-fearing man. I’m supposed to have faith, but I didn’t have faith… God bless… all of the other actors. I said, ‘You know that young boy is going to win, Denzel. You ain’t going to win’ so I didn’t even prepare… But I am prepared.”

After his moment of comic timing, Denzel straightened his posture, regained his composure (mostly) and paid tribute to all of the key players that made Fences possibly – highlighting the late August Wilson (author and screenwriter of Fences) among such legendary names as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Washington then thanked the studio, producers and the cast and crew – including Scott Rudin who first brought the Fences screenplay to Denzel 7 years ago.

Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of Denzel’s speech was the humbling segment where he admitted to having the same fears and struggles as other actors and actresses in the business.

“SAG, listen… we’re just actors. I’m famous and all that kind of stuff, but I have the same fear opening night or the first preview that anybody else has… We all have the same job and this is not a testament to me… It’s a testament obviously to August Wilson… the guys that don’t get recognized.”

Before he walked away with his trophy – the very first SAG Award of his Oscar-winning acting career – Denzel perhaps saved the most profound sign of gratitude for his leading Fences costar Viola Davis by essentially dedicating the award to her with the simple statement: “To Viola Davis.”

Long before Viola Davis played Rose Lee Maxson, the wife of Troy Maxson (played by Denzel Washington) on the big-screen, she starred alongside the actor/director in the same role on the stage.

With Denzel Washington pulling a huge upset and major surprise at the SAG Awards, this basically introduces unanswered questions in regards to which Oscar nominee will walk away with the award during next month’s ceremony. Casey Affleck won over Washington and Gosling in a leading actor category at the Golden Globes. However, history has shown that nothing is set in stone when it comes to the Academy Awards.

For example, think about Eddie Murphy’s award-winning season after his performance in the 2006 movie musical Dreamgirls. His jaw-dropping performance as Jimmy “Thunder” Early won him the “Best Supporting Actor” category at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Many fans and critics assumed that Murphy would walk away with the Oscar for the same role as well. However, longtime actor Alan Arkin pulled a major upset by winning the category on the big night for his own performance in Little Miss Sunshine.

Will either Ryan Gosling or Casey Affleck become first-time Oscar winners in February? Or, will Denzel Washington add a third Oscar to his own award collection after pulling off another upset? Fans, critics and celebrities alike will all just have to wait and see.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

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