Washington plays lawyer Joe Miller in the drama Philadelphia. Attorney Andrew Beckett, played by Tom Hanks, is fired from his law firm after they find out that he has contracted AIDS. He decides to sue his firm with the help of homophobic lawyer, Miller. After spending time with Beckett, Miller starts to understand that he is no different than anyone else. Hanks thanks Washington as he receives an Oscar Award for his performance:
…and a cast that includes many other people, but the actor who really put his film image at risk and shone because of his integrity, Mr. Denzel Washington.