Despite being rivals for the ‘Best Leading Actor’ category at this year’s Academy Awards, Denzel Washington and Will Smith have nothing but love and respect for one another. In an interview with People, Smith shared the sweet message that Washington gave him ahead of the two’s big night at the Oscars on March 28.
Smith has been nominated for his performance in the drama movie King Richard, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green which tells the true story of the tennis players Venus and Serena Williams rise to fame after being coached by their father. On the other hand, Washington is being recognised for his work in the thriller movie The Tragedy of Macbeth – an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic stage play.
During the Screen Actors Guild Awards on February 28, Smith walked away with the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role – and according to the star, no one was happier for him than the man he is up against this award season, Washington.”We’ve spent a lot of time together. So we’ve been talking, he’s always been a mentor for me, and he grabbed me, and he said, ‘This is your year,'” Smith recalled. “He just hugged me, and he said, ‘I’m so happy for you. Just love who you’re becoming.'”
“He knew me years ago; I would go to Denzel for advice, so he’s seen me through the years, and he was just telling me how proud he is of who I’ve become and what I’ve become,” the actor continued. “He was saying that he felt like a weight was lifted off of his shoulders somehow.”
According to Smith, Washington has been a steady mentor figure to him throughout his cinematic career, and is someone who he always felt comfortable going to for advice. This is the third time Smith has received an Oscar nomination, and despite Washington and him being up for the same coveted award this season, it looks like both stars will support each other no matter the outcome.
The Oscars will be available to watch live on ABC in the US. UK viewers can tune into the ceremony via the streaming service NOW.