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Ethan Hawke Shares the Priceless Advice Denzel Washington Whispered in His Ear After Oscars Loss

Ethan Hawke Shares the Priceless Advice Denzel Washington Whispered in His Ear After Oscars Loss
Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington. Getty Images(2)

Ethan Hawke is shining a light on what Training Day costar Denzel Washington told him moments after his Oscars loss.

While appearing on a recent episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, Hawke, 53, was asked about the viral moment from the 2002 Academy Awards, inquiring if  Washington, 69, really whispered into his ear, “It’s better that you didn’t win. Losing was better.”

While Hawke wouldn’t confirm or deny the exact wording, he remembered the message his supportive friend was trying to get across.

“You don’t want an award to improve your status,” Hawke shared with Chris Wallace. “You want to improve the award’s status. That’s the way he thinks. …The Academy Award has more power because Denzel has a couple. It didn’t elevate who he was.”

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At the 2002 Oscars, Hawke was nominated for Best Supporting Actor thanks to his role in Training Day. Jim Broadbent ultimately won the category for his performance in Iris.

More than 20 years after the awards show, Hawke is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and lessons learned.

“I was at the Oscars sitting next to Denzel Washington and nominated against Ian McKellen,” he said. “I had already won. It was impossible for me not to see it any other way.”

Ethan Hawke Shares the Priceless Advice Denzel Washington Whispered in His Ear After Oscars Loss
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

During the Wallace interview, Hawke was quick to compare Washington to baseball icon Babe Ruth simply because, “When all is said and done, he’s the greatest actor of our generation.”

“I imagine, if you loved baseball, it would be interesting to see how Babe Ruth tied his shoes,” Hawke explained. “How he thought about various pitchers. The whole process. But what creates that is a tremendous amount of energy and thought, what creates those moments. And once you see somebody working that way, there’s all these other rooms that you can go into in the profession.”

Hawke continues to put his game face on and best foot forward in an industry that continues to evolve. On May 3, the Oscar nominee will release his latest movie, Wildcat, which he directed and cowrote.

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The film stars his 25-year-old daughter, Maya Hawke, who he shares with ex-wife Uma Thurman. (Ethan is also dad of son Levon, 21, with Thurman and daughters Clementine, 13, and Indiana, 11, with wife Ryan Hawke.)

Before the film’s release, Ethan praised his eldest child for her talents on and off the big screen.

“Anybody that knows Maya knows that she’s a force. She always has been,” he told People in March. “She writes and performs her own music and she loves acting and she loves painting and she’s kind of an artistic animal.”

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