Denzel Washington, Flight and ‘New Negro Exceptionalism’

By:Usame Tunagur

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its 2013 Oscar nominations. Nominated in the Best Actor category for his strong performance in Flight (2012), Denzel Washington received his 6th Oscar nomination, making him the most nominated black actor. So far, he has won the hardware twice; one for Best Supporting Actor in Glory (1989) and another one for Best Actor in Training Day (2001).
 
In Robert Zemeckis’ film Flight, Denzel Washington plays the role of an alcoholic and an accomplished pilot; a character packaged with subtle clues hinting at a generational burden of representation and the possibility of a complex humanization.
Whip Whitaker is an extremely skillful veteran commercial airlines pilot who pulls off a spectacular emergency landing, saving all but six of 102 passengers after an unheard of upside-down maneuver —a maneuver the nation’s top 10 pilots failed to achieve in flight simulations.

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