Tom Hanks Declares 2002 Denzel's Year
12/09/2002 AT 01:20 PM EST
The star, 48, called it a "humbling, humiliating experience," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
As opposed to some lifetime achievement awards, the Cinematheque's annual prize goes to "an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry currently making a significant contribution to the art of the moving picture" and is traditionally presented in mid-career.
"There is only one actor in the course of his career thus far who can be appropriately and righteously compared to Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Cable -- as well as Sidney Poitier," Tom Hanks, 46, who costarred with Washington in "Philadelphia," said in presenting the award.
"He is their equal in honesty and artistry. So let's name 2002 the year of Denzel Washington."
Hanks also quipped: "Women that I know say that Denzel is dreamy. A woman that I am married to (actress Rita Wilson) confirms this. ... In fact, Denzel is dreamy."
Other speakers included Bruce Willis, Ethan Hawke, Angela Bassett, Barry Bonds, Ice Cube, Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry. Commenting on this year's historic Oscar wins, in which the top acting honors went to her and Washington, Berry, 36, said: "For the first time, race didn't matter -- it was all about the acting, the craft, the work."
In accepting his award, Washington said: "True desire in the heart for anything good is God's sure promise sent beforehand to indicate that it's yours already. ... In my wildest dreams and desires I never imagined a night like this. It's been amazing, an amazing journey and an amazing destination."