Will Smith; Photo Courtesy of ABC Screengrab

Will Smith Breaks Down In Tears & Apologizes To The Academy While Accepting Award For Best Actor At 2022 Oscars

Will Smith broke down in tears while accepting his first-ever Oscar for Best Actor In A Leading Role at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 27.

Smith, who won for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, made his way to the stage to accept the Oscar. After Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman and John Travolta presented Smith with the award, he took to the microphone with a tearful speech.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith began. “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 and Demi, the two actresses that 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 and I know to do what we do you got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to let people talk crazy about you, you have to be able to have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend that that’s okay,” he continued, potentially referring to the Chris Rock incidient that happened earlier in the show. 

He then went on to apologize to The Academy as well as his fellow nominees, saying, “I want to be a vessel for love” and “love will make you do crazy things.” 

He didn’t mention or apologize to Rock at all within his speech and his win completely overshadowed the situation.

Smith concluded his speech with a laugh saying, “I hope the Academy invites me back.”

 

Earlier in the show, Smith punched Chris Rock in the face after Rock made a bad joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

Billie Eilish and FINNEAS (“No Time To Die“), Reba McEntire (“Somehow You Do“), Beyoncé (“Be Alive”), Sebastián Yatra (“Dos Oruguitas”), Becky G, Luis Fonsi and the cast of Encanto (“We Don’t Talk About Bruno”) also performed during the coveted awards show.

Co-hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, the 94th Academy Awards aired on Sunday, March 27 at 8/7c on ABC.

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