Will Smith apologized to the Academy and his co-nominees best actor in his winning acceptance speech, shortly after he took the stage and slammed Chris Rock for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith. He did not speak to Rock in his speech.
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my co-names. This is a beautiful time and I am not crying to win a prize. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to enlighten everyone. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the whole team and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the whole Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the cunning father, just as they said about Richard Williams, ”said Smith in his acceptance of tears.
Rock had previously joked about Pinkett Smith being in “GI Jane” because of her bald head. Pinkett Smith announced last year she shook her head after struggling with alopecia. After hitting Rock in the face, Smith said to him, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Oscar audiences, and viewers on social media, were stunned by Smith’s slap, which was like a funny skit at first. The incident occurred when the best documentary feature was showcased, which was a few categories ahead of the best performer. Smith spoke to the slap immediately as he took the stage to accept the award.
“Richard Williams was a strong defender of his family. In this moment of my life, in this moment, I am overcoming what God wants me to do and be in this world. In making this film, I defended Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the strongest, smartest people I have ever met. I protected Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses who played Venus and Serena, ”he said, starting to tear. “In my life I am asked to love people and protect people and be a river for my people. I know what we do, you have to be able to take abuse. You need to be able to get people to talk crazy about you. In this business you have to be able to get people to respect you. And you have to laugh and you have to pretend that that’s okay. ”
Following Rock’s incident, Smith’s publisher Meredith O. Sullivan, Oscar Will Packer producer and best actor nominee Denzel Washington came to speak to Smith during commercial times. In his speech, Smith set out what Washington told him.
“Thank you, Dee. Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest level, be careful, that’s when the Devil comes for you,’ “Smith said.
Despite the horrific moment that had just taken place, Smith closed his speech and joked about being invited back to the Oscars.
“For my mum – a lot of this moment is very complicated for me – but for my mum, she didn’t want to come out. She had her knitting friends; she has a knitting team that she is in Philly looking after. Being able to love and care for my mother and my family, my wife – I take too much time. Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this time. And thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene [Price] and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I hope the Academy invites me back, “said Smith before leaving the stage.
Smith won best Actor for “King Richard”, a well-to-do sports drama in which he plays the father of tennis statues Venus and Serena Williams. He was twice nominated for best actor: in 2002 for the “Ali” boxing biopic and in 2006 for “The Pursuit of Happyness”.
Smith became a starter for best Oscar actor during the awards season, staying in the conversation through wins at Golden Globes awards, BAFTAs, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild. In a stacked Oscar race, Smith defeated Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick… Boom!”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy” Macbeth ”) took the top prize. Coincidentally, Smith lost the Oscar in 2002 to Washington, winner of “Training Day”.
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, “King Richard” received six nominations in total, including best picture, supporting the actor for Ellis as the mother of Venus and Serena and the original screenshot . In this popular biography drama, Smith delivers the kind of performance – anchored by the true story of a father dedicated to the rising sports stars – that Oscar-winning vote.
But Smith before to the New York Times that he was once worried that “The Pursuit of Happyness” would be at the top of his Hollywood career, despite having had dozens of film duties ever since.
“I thought I had reached my artistic peak,” he said. “So if the world responds to this film in this way it inspires me as an artist. I’m just inspired to create and even be able to tell stories like this. ”
At this year’s SAG Awards, in one of Smith’s recent awards season speeches, 53-year-old actor Richard Williams “dreamed like no one ever knew.”
“He has a power of belief that goes beyond promises and sometimes suggestions across the border, which is absolutely essential to take something from the impossible to the impossible,” Smith said.
Various has contacted ABC for further comments on the Smith-Rock event.