Jamie Foxx got brutally honest during a sit-down at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival about the awards season he spent campaigning for “Ray.” The hourlong conversation, moderated by “Genius” news anchor Jacques Morel, found the Oscar winner looking back at his career in film, music, and television, but the most surprising tidbit came when Foxx admitted to being an embarrassment for part of the 2004-2005 awards season, in which he eventually won the Academy Award Best Actor.
“When I was up for the Oscar I didn’t take it seriously at all,” Foxx said. “I thought there was no way to win that. I took [Oscar season] as an excuse to party. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m nominated? Break out the champagne and let’s party.’ I remember having paparazzi on me for the first time. I remember going absolutely nuts. I went to the Golden Globes and there was champagne involved and I was just wrong on the red carpet. I was disrespectful to the process.”
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Foxx remembered attending the Globes with a friend and being nominated for multiple awards that year. On the red carpet, Foxx and his friend were screaming the number of awards they were up for that evening in a way Foxx said was extremely immature. The actor said his publicist called him and yelled at him for his behavior, telling the actor, “What are you doing? You see how embarrassing this is? You’ve got a chance, but you got to walk a certain way.”
The first person to intervene and really get Foxx back on track was Oprah Winfrey. The television personality called Foxx and told him personally that he was “blowing it.”
“Oprah told me, ‘You really have a great chance to do something that is wonderful and the character you played touched so many people, but not if you act like this,'” Foxx said.
Oprah had an idea for an intervention: She invited Foxx to a party at Quincy Jones’ mansion. Foxx said he met several actors and actresses he looked up to as a kid at the party and they all congratulated him and said they liked his work. But Oprah brought Foxx to the party so he could meet one person in particular: Sidney Poitier.
“Standing in a tuxedo in the corner was Sidney Poitier,” Foxx said. “I walked up to him and he said, ‘I watched your performance and I grew two inches. I leave you with one thing: responsibility.'”
Foxx thought to himself after hearing Poitier’s wisdom, “Oh shit! No more after-parties. I got to get my shit together.” Foxx did just that; he ended up taking his daughter to the Oscars and scaled back on partying. He ended up winning the Oscar, a moment to this day he still refers to as “life-changing.”
Watch Foxx’s entire Tribeca conversation in the video below.