Denzel Washington... put the camera DOWN. You can act your ass off, but you can't direct to save your life.
Seriously, the fact that this was a 'black' movie has helped MR. Washington with the critics. They would NEVER give a white director this much praise for directing like that. Terrible over-acting, rushed sequences, murky story development. It was a mess.
Golden Globe nomination for best picture? You've got to be out of your tree-hugging, socialist-loving, white-guilt-riddled minds! The Great Debaters has a few interesting scenes and some decent social commentary. At best, it is a mildly interesting socio-pic (my word; can't nick it).
At least the white guilt wasn't bad enough to warrant a best director nod. Even that would've been too much for those hippies.