Despite reports, Denzel Washington insists that he was not upset last March when he lost the best actor Oscar to American Beauty's Kevin Spacey. Nominated for The Hurricane, Washington says he doesn't put much stock in awards anyway.

"My hard work is rewarded," says the four-time Oscar nominee, who picked up a trophy in 1989 for his supporting work in Glory. "My mother always said, 'Man gives the award. God gives the reward.' It's a long race.

"My life is not determined by who votes for me and who doesn't," Washington continues. "One thing I can guarantee to the public is that I'm going to continue to work as hard as I possibly can to make the best movies. And who votes for me or gives me a statue does not determine what I'm going to do next. If anything, it inspires me to do more — whether I get one or don't get one."

The actor — whose latest film, Remember the Titans, opens today — cops a similarly blasé attitude about the media. "I don't read much about me," he says. "It doesn't have anything to do with what I do. I'm an actor. Writers write, actors act. If I did not do what I do well, nobody would be writing about me or talking about me anyway. I don't read articles about how I look. I'm bored with me. I'm more interested in the work."

In Titans, which is based on a true story, Washington plays a high school football coach who overcame racial tension in 1971 and successfully integrated a black and white team. For his part, the father of four says he discusses issues of race "as it comes" with his own kids. "You have to be careful to not beat them over the head so much that they start looking over their shoulder for something that may not be there," he explains. "I don't have a 'plan' about [fighting] racism. There's no science to it. You work it out as you go."