Ethan Hawke reveals what Denzel Washington whispered in his ear after losing an Oscar

‘That’s the way he thinks,’ actor said of ‘Training Day’ co-stars reaction

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 01 May 2024 15:49 BST
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Ethan Hawke has revealed what Denzel Washington whispered in his ear the moment he lost an Oscar.

American actor Hawke was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category in 2002 for his role in Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, but ultimately lost to Jim Broadbent, who won for Iris.

However, Washington, who also whispered words of advice into Will Smith’s ear immediately after he slapped Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards, was on hand to reassure his co-star.

Over the years, it’s been rumoured what Washington told Hawke – but the latter has now cleared up the mystery on an episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, a chat show that airs on Max.

During the interview, Hawke finally revealed exactly what the actor told him: “You don’t want an award to improve your status. You want to improve the award’s status.”

Elaborating on Washington’s point, Hawke, who called his former co-star “the greatest actor of our generation”, said: “That’s the way he thinks. The Academy Award has more power, because Denzel has a couple. It didn’t elevate who he was.”

Washington, who has been nominated for 10 Oscars, won Best Actor for his performance in Training Day – 12 years after winning Best Supporting Actor for Glory.

Hawke has never won an Oscar, but was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category again in 2015 for his role in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which was shot over 12 years. He also received two nominations in the Adapted Screenplay category for his work on Linklater’s Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

The actor is currently promoting his directorial effort Wildfire, which stars his daughter Maya Hawke as the novelist Flannery O’Connor.

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in ‘Training Day’
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in ‘Training Day’ (Outlaw/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock)

At the 2022 Oscars, Washington approached Will Smith after the actor hit Chris Rock on stage after the comedian made a quip about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. He won Best Actor for King Richard moments later, and said during his acceptance speech: “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, we’ve gotta be able to take abuse. You’ve gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. You’ve gotta smile and pretend that that’s OK.”

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