If you sat all of Hollywood's legitimate leading men around a single table at Spago's, there would be a chair for Washington, 36. "Whatever that mysterious electrochemical process is that makes the camera love someone, he has more of it than any one person should," says Ed Zwick, director of Glory
, the 1989 Civil War epic that earned the actor an Oscar. And while filming Mississippi Masala
in the delta town of Greenwood, recalls costar Sarita Choudhury, "crowds began shouting his name in the middle of our scenes." The attention isn't likely to dwindle after the Christmas release of his next picture, Spike Lee's Malcolm X
. But Washington, who lives in L.A. with his wife and two children, has his ego firmly in check: "I don't walk past the mirror any slower."