Oscar buzz grows for Denzel Washington after early ‘Flight’ reviews

Denzel Washington has long been one of the most bankable and beloved A-list stars in Hollywood, but he hasn’t scored an Oscar nomination since his best actor victory for 2001’s Training Day.

If early reviews for his upcoming drama Flight are any indication, he might want to get his tux ready for a trip to the Academy Awards.

The Robert Zemeckis film debuted at the New York Film Festival this weekend and while reaction to the film itself was mixed, the veteran actor’s performance was cited across the board as a highlight.

“Washington has found one of the best parts of his career in Whip Whitaker,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter‘s film critic Todd McCarthy.

The role of Whitaker is a darker one than usual for Washington. The character is an airline pilot who successfully lands a plummeting aircraft, but whose heroism is called into question when it is revealed that he had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time of the crisis.

“Denzel Washington may very well be Oscar nominated for his showy performance as an heroic pilot haunted by demons,” wrote New York Post critic Lou Lumenick.

Academy Award nominations will be announced early next year, on January 10th, so Washington will soon know whether or not he’ll have a chance to take home an unprecedented third Oscar.