Who Is A Better Actor? Denzel Washington Or Will Smith

Acting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world because it requires a lot of flexibility, versatility, and an ability to embody a myriad of characters in order to inspire specific emotions in the audience at the drop of a hat. Like most professions, it is saturated with people of varying talents who wish to make a career for themselves and rise to the top of the industry. However, only a few actors have managed to achieve this height to become true superstars in their field. Two of such actors are Denzel Washington and Will Smith who are considered to belong to the A-list category of actors.

Both of their careers have spanned several decades, during which they have portrayed all kinds of characters from the mundane to the complex, cementing their status as exceptional performers with every role that they take on. These actors are some of the hardest-working in the industry and they can be counted on to elevate any script with their treasure troves of talent. Looking at the body of work that both actors have put out over the years, it can be difficult to simply pick which of them is better especially because acting as an art, is subjective; so what one person considers to be phenomenal might be mediocre to another.

Denzel Washington and Will Smith share as many differences in their work as there are similarities, which makes both of them almost evenly matched as actors. So which one of them can be said to be the better actor? In what areas have each of them set themselves apart? Before we dig into that, let’s get a little perspective on just what the two actors have been up to in their respective careers.

Appraising Denzel Washington And Will Smith’s Career

First of all, Denzel is the older of the two actors. He has a 14-year headstart on Will. Asides from being an actor, he is also a producer and director. He has received glowing praise from all corners for his outstanding acting abilities which he has displayed in many movies, including Cry Freedom, Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster, The Great Debaters, Antwone Fisher, Fences, Glory, Mississippi Masala, and The Preacher’s Wife.

The actor’s career has encompassed the stage, television, and the silver screen. His other notable career performances include Remember the Titans, The Book of Eli, Inside Man, Training Day, The Equalizer, Much Ado About Nothing, The Magnificent Seven, License to Kill, St. Elsewhere, and A Soldier’s Play.

There is no denying that both Denzel Washington and Will Smith have impressive filmographies.

More than just being an actor, Will Smith is a media personality as well as a rapper and producer. His breakout role was on the hit television series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before he went on to conquer the world of film. He holds the honor of being the only actor to have eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally, eight consecutive films rake in more than $100 million at the domestic box office, and eight films in a row open at number one at the domestic box office. Little wonder Forbes ranked him the most bankable star.

Will has stunned audiences with the sheer depth of his talent in several projects amongst which are The Pursuit of Happyness, Enemy of the State, Six Degrees of Separation, Wild Wild West, Bad Boys, After Earth, I Am Legend, Concussion, Suicide Squad, and Independence Day. You might also recognize him for his performances in Bright, Focus, Shark Tale, Made in America, Men in Black, Ali, Hitch, Seven Pounds, Where the Day Takes You, and Aladdin.

What Awards Have The Actors Won? 

Based on the number of awards Denzel Washington and Will Smith have won in their careers, let’s compare the two actors.

Will Smith’s Awards

Will Smith receives an NAACP Image Awards in 2009
Will Smith receives an NAACP Image Awards in 2009: Image Source

Like Denzel Washington, Will Smith has won several notable awards of the years. Some of which include the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, MTV Movie Award for Best Fight, MTV Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie, MTV Generation Award, Teen Choice Awards for Best Movie Actor in a Comedy, Teen Choice Awards for Best Movie Actor in a Drama, Teen Choice Awards for Best Movie Chemistry, Teen Choice Awards for Best Movie Actor in a Horror/Thriller, NAACP Image Awards for Entertainer of the Year, and NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.

Will Smith has also bagged the People’s Choice Award for Best Male Performance, People’s Choice Award for Best Movie Actor, People’s Choice Award for Favourite Male Action Star, Hollywood Film Awards for Best Actor, Saturn Awards for Best Actor, Young Artist Awards for Contribution to Youth Through Motion Picture, Two Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favourite Movie Actor, and Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favourite Voice from an Animated Movie

Denzel Washington’s Awards

Denzel Washington Receives Oscar for Best Actor in 2001
Denzel Washington Receives Oscar for Best Actor in 2001: Image Source

Like Will Smith, Denzel Washington has built a legendary career that will stand the test of time. As such he has won several awards including MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance, Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Academy Award for Best Actor, Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, Cecilia B. Demille Award, Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Five Black Reel Awards for Best Actor and Black Reel Awards for Best Director.

Unsurprisingly, he has also won Twelve NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, Three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, NAACP Image Awards for Entertainer of the Year, Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, Two Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor, Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Two Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor.

The list of awards Denzel Washington has bagged over the years also includes Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Freedom Award, Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Two African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Black Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, American Film Institute Award for Actor of the Year, and the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards for Excellence in Film, among others.

The Verdict

Denzel Washington and Will Smith have been phenomenal and it’s definitely difficult to decide who’s the better actor between the two. But then, going by the number of awards that each actor has won, it’s easy to see that Denzel Washington is by far the better actor of the two. Not only does he have more awards than Will Smith, but he has also received more prestigious awards than Will Smith has.

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