Denzel Washington's words of wisdom for Will Smith revealed after he slapped Chris Rock

29 March 2022, 11:00

Watch the full confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock live on the Oscars stage after gag about Jada Pinkett Smith

By Mayer Nissim

Will Smith's stunning Oscars win was overshadowed by the slap heard around the world.

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Will Smith is only the sixth black actor to win an Oscar for their performance in a leading role.

He follows in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry and Forest Whitaker.

Will got his big win at the weekend for his performance as Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, in the critically-acclaimed movie King Richard.

But the award was completely overshadowed by what happened moments before, when Will took to the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face before twice urging the comic to "take my wife's name out your f**king mouth".

Rock had joked about Will's wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, looking like GI Jane, prompting in Will's shocking actions.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. Picture: Getty

After the incident, Will was seen being comforted by not just Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper, but also Denzel Washington, who won the Oscar for Best Actor for Training Day in 2002.

As for what Denzel said to Will to calm him down, we didn't have to wait too long to find out. Will revealed Washington's comments during his acceptance speech just half an hour later.

"What I loved was, Denzel said to me a few moments ago, he said, 'At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you'," Will said from the stage.

Whether that "devil" was Chris Rock, Will's own overprotective violence, or just plain bad vibes, is up for discussion.

Denzel Washington comforts Will Smith after the slap
Denzel Washington comforts Will Smith after the slap. Picture: Getty

While Will apologised to his fellow nominees and the Academy during the same speech, he didn't actually say sorry to Chris on the evening.

"I'm being called on to love and protect people, and to be a river to my people," he said.

"I know to do what we do you've got to be able to take abuse, you've got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.

"You've got to be able have people disrespecting you and you've got to smile and pretend like that's okay."

Will added: "I want to apologise to the Academy and to all my fellow nominees, this is a beautiful moment, and I'm not crying for winning an award, it's about being able to shine a light on all of the people."

Smith later publicly apologised to Chris, writing a lengthy Instagram post about the incident.

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," he said.

"My behaviour at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

He added: "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.

"I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."

"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family.

"I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress."