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Will Smith reveals what Denzel Washington said to him after he hit Chris Rock

Smith tearfully accepted the Best Actor award after slapping Chris Rock onstage at last night's Oscars

By Tom Skinner

Will Smith at the Oscars
Will Smith accepts the Best Actor award at the Oscars 2022. CREDIT: Oscars/still

Will Smith has revealed what fellow nominee Denzel Washington said to him following Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022.

During last night’s LA ceremony, comedian Rock took to the stage to present the award for Best Documentary, which was won by ‘Summer Of Soul’. He made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss as a result of alopecia, saying he “couldn’t wait” to watch “G.I. Jane 2”.

Will appeared to laugh off the jibe initially, though Jada looked far from impressed. Shortly afterwards, Will walked up to the stage and slapped Rock in the face. Upon returning to his seat, the actor shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

Later in the evening, Will won the Best Actor statue for his role as Richard Williams in ‘King Richard’, (the film received six nominations total). He approached the stage with a smile, appearing to reference the outburst.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world,” Smith said. “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people. And to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse, have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend like that’s OK.”

Smith also recalled some words of wisdom that had been imparted to him by Denzel Washington, who was also appeared in the Best Actor category for his performance in last year’s ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’.

“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’,” Smith explained.

He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees. Art imitates life; I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things… I hope the Academy invites me back.”

One attendee said that “the whole place was stunned” by Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” a stunned Rock told the audience afterwards. Elsewhere, Liam Payne said in an interview at the Oscars that he “had to leave my chair” after witnessing the incident unfold. “It cut me really deep,” he commented.

You can see the full list of winners from the Oscars 2022 here.