According to actor Will Smith, sometime at the Oscars Sunday night after Smith had struck Chris Rock onstage for making a joke about Smith’s wife, actor Denzel Washington took Smith aside to console him, asserting, “At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
Smith acknowledged Washington’s comment when he accepted his Best Actor award for the movie “King Richard” later in the program; he stated:
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. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya [Sidney] and Demi [Singleton], the two actresses who play Venus and Serena. I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.”
Now I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse. You gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you have to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you gotta smile and pretend that’s OK. Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, he said, “At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
It’s like I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena Williams. I just spit. I hope. they didn’t see that on TV — and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.
I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people … Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father just like they said … just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things.
He told interviewer Maureen Dowd that before his grandmother died, he would “attempt to honor her and God by living the rest of my days in a way that would make her proud.” That, he explained, is what his work is all about now.
Washington revealed he doesn’t look at his career from an earthly perspective, saying of his faith, “If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.” Later, when Dowd asked if he’d any concerns about the supposed “curse” that productions of Macbeth are alleged to suffer, the two-time Oscar winner brushed the idea off.
“I’m a God-fearing man,” he said. “I try not to worry. Fear is contaminated faith.”
At one point during their conversation, Washington recommended that Dowd read Scripture. “Have you read the Bible?” he asked her, adding, “Start with the New Testament, because the Old Testament is harder. You get caught up in the who-begot-who-begot-who thing.” At another point, he suggested she try The Daily Word, an inspirational Christian app.