Will Smith won his first Academy Award (Oscars) on Sunday night and offered his apologies to the Academy and others for an earlier incident in which the actor appeared to strike presenter Chris Rock.
Will Smith walked onto the Oscars stage Sunday night and slapped presenter Chris Rock. Smith, who went on to win best leading actor for King Richard later in the show, confronted the comedian after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, quipping that she was getting ready to appear in a sequel to G.I. Jane. The joke was an apparent reference to the actress has shaved her head.
After Smith returned to his seat, he cursed Rock multiple times: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth.”
Watch the uncensored moment Will Smith smacks Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars
Then, he tearfully accepted the award for his role as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in the film “King Richard.
Smith said, “I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse and have people talk people about you. In this business, you gotta have people disrespecting you. And you gotta smile and pretend that’s ok.“
Smith also talked about being a “protector” and thanked the tennis legends and their family.
Read his full speech below:
“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 that play 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.
Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.” I want to be a vessel for love. 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 apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize 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 the people … and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and 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.
To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother — she didn’t want to come out, she has her knitting friends, she has a knitting crew she’s watching with — being able to love and care fro my mother and my family and my wife — i’m taking up too much time — thank you for this honor. Thank you for this moment. i thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back”.
Will Smith breaks down in Oscars 2022 speech after hitting Chris Rock