This year Denzel Washington is once again America’s Favorite Movie Star, according to a Harris Poll (a product of Nielsen) , making it the fifth time he’s held the distinction, with previous wins being a 3-year run from 2006-2008, and 1 more victory in 2012, before spending 2013 in the No. 2 spot.
Moving up all the way from No. 7 last year, to a second place finish this year, is the only star who has appeared on the list since it first began in 1994 – John Wayne. He may be long gone, but he’s still in the hearts of many apparently.
Also, the Civil War epic “Gone with the Wind” was voted America’s favorite movie, in the same poll.
Maybe it’s just me, but this poll, or the participants who contributed to it, might be suffering a case of cognitive dissonance, as I wouldn’t necessarily expect the same group of people who selected Denzel Washington (an African American actor) as their fave movie star, to also vote for a film like “Gone with the Wind” (a movie that’s been severely criticized for its perpetuating Civil War myths and black stereotypes) as their favorite movie.
And then there’s John Wayne, who, shall we say, had a reputation for being a racist, who was active as a movie star during the era that brought us “Gone with the Wind” (although he was around for another 40 years after that film).
There seems to be a slight disconnect there – an appreciation for the advances made in terms of depictions of black people on screen, and the rise of black movie stars, as well as a fondness for a much less racially harmonic time in America’s past, when “blacks knew their place,” so to speak. To quote John Wayne, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
Or maybe Denzel Washington has truly transcended race… or something else.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,255 U.S. adults, surveyed between December 10 and 15, 2014. So it’s obviously not representative of an entire populace, and just a sample size. But I wouldn’t be shocked if the results aren’t so dissimilar, if the sample size was 1000 times larger.
Worth noting, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that, according to the poll, Washington was more popular with women participants than men, with Wayne being more popular with men than with women.
Of course, this could all be considered plain old fun, unscientific and shouldn’t be taken entirely seriously.
The full results of the study can be found here.