When it comes to blockbuster Hollywood actors, Denzel Washington is at the top of a very short list of stars who are all but guaranteed to turn in a stellar performance and packed theaters.
In an interview with The Guardian promoting, Flight, a film about a man struggling with addictions and Washington's most recent project, he discussed his faith and the integral role that it plays in his work - especially in his Oscar-nominated portrayal of the alcoholic William "Whip" Whitaker.
"That line, 'God help me,' was very important to me, as an arc as much as anything," said Washington regarding Flight's climax, when Whitaker is finally held to task for his actions and subsequent cover-ups. "You see this butt-naked, coke-sniffing, weed-smoking guy finally get to the point where he can say: 'God help me.' He gets his life back."
As the son of a Pentecostal preacher, Washington grew up in the church, and he does much more than pay lip service to his beliefs. In 1995 he donated $2.5m to help build the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where he currently attends along with other celebrities including Magic Johnson and Stevie Wonder.
Washington also credits his faith with keeping him grounded and providing a sense of routine in the entertainment business.
"I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word," Washington replied during an interview for GQ Magazine's October 2012 issue when asked if he has a daily code that he lives by.
Washington is nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor for his work in Flight. The 85th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony airs this Sunday, February 24, at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.