After punching comedian Chris Rock on stage for making a joke about his wife, Will Smith cried during his best actor acceptance speech at the Oscars. Why Will Smith cried after slapping Chris
It was his first Academy Award nomination, for his performance in King Richard as the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.
Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.
Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met.
I got to protect Saniyya [Sidney] and Demi [Singleton], the two actresses who played Venus and Serena.
I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.
Now I know, to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you.
In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you, and you’ve got to smile and you’ve got to pretend like that’s OK.
What I loved – Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, he said, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.’
I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story.
That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.
I want to apologise to the Academy. I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.
This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me.
It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people – Tim [White, producer] and Trevor [White, producer] and Zach [Baylin, writer] and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard, and Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family.
Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.
But love will make you do crazy things.
And my mother… a lot in this moment is really complicated for me but to my mother, she didn’t want to come out.
She’s had her knitting crew who she’s in Philly watching with.
Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife… I’m taking up too much time… Thank you for this honour.
Thank you for this moment and thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene and the entire Williams family.
Thank you. I hope the Academy invites me back.
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