Twenty years after his first nomination, Will Smith finally won his first Oscar, awarded for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena.
The win was overshadowed by the incident earlier in the night when Smith took the stage and appeared to attack host Chris Rock after the comedian took a dig at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her alopecia, a condition that causes her hair to fall out.) After Smith took his seat again, he angrily yelled at Rock twice to “keep my wife’s name out of her fucking mouth.”
In an emotional acceptance speech after accepting the Oscar, Smith told the audience: “I know that to do what we do, you have to be able to take abuse, you have to be able to make people talk crazy about you. In this business, you have to be able to make people disrespect you. And you have to smile and you have to pretend that’s okay.”
He mentioned talking to Denzel Washington off-camera, who told him, “At your highest, that’s when the devil’s coming for you.”
Smith thanked the Williams family “for trusting me with their story,” saying he wanted to be an ambassador of love. “Art imitates life,” he said. “I look like the crazy father, as they said of Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.
Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Chris Rock. He ended his speech by saying that he hopes the Academy will invite him back.
His performance in king richard It was his third Oscar nomination, after Ali Y The pursuit of happiness. king richard is the origin story of the Williams sisters. Isha Price, one of Venus and Serena’s older sisters, told NPR that she has approached them many times about making a movie about Venus and Serena.
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