People of the Year — 2a. Denzel Washington

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Last minute addition here. I can’t explain why the Mount Vernon native didn’t figure into our pre-countdown planning, given that he’s had easily the best year of his career — his Oscar-worthy performance as real-life heroin kingpin Frank Lucas in “American Gangster”; starring in, directing, producing, and filling just about every other production credit in “The Great Debaters” (which I haven’t seen yet, but, given its Golden Globe Best Picture nod, I’m figuring is pretty decent).

Sure, Denzel doesn’t live in Westchester any more, but when you factor in all the times he returned to the area (to film “Gangster,” to stump for mayor candidates in Mount Vernon) — well, the omission would be inexcusable.

Fortunately, I happened to read that today is the man’s 53rd birthday. What better time to right that wrong and celebrate This Year in Denzel?

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