Will Smith Makes Comeback to Award show After the 2022 Oscar Incident
Will Smith and his ‘Emancipation’ director Antoine Fuqua accepted the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards.
Will Smith made a return to the awards season on Wednesday to receive the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards. This was his first in-person acceptance speech since his controversial moment at the 2022 Academy Awards when he slapped Chris Rock onstage. Smith accepted the award alongside Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua, who explained the significance of the award and thanked those involved in the film before handing over the mic to Smith.
“Emancipation was the most individual difficult film of my entire career,”Will began his part of the speech.
“It’s really difficult to transport a modern mind to that time period. It’s difficult to imagine that, that level of inhumanity.” Source
Will Smith talked about his experience filming an AppleTV+ movie where he plays Peter, a slave who achieves his own freedom. He mentioned how a white co-star spat on him during a tense scene, which made him realize the injustice of the slavery era.
“It was the second day of shooting and 110 degrees, I was in a scene with one of the white actors, and we had our lines, and the actor decided to ad-lib. So, we’re doing the scene. I did my line. He did his line. And then he ad-libbed and spit in the middle of my chest. If I had pearls on, I definitely would’ve clutched them. I wanted to say, ‘Antoineeeeee,’ but I stopped, and I realized that Peter couldn’t have called the director.”Will Smith added
He recounted a moment on set where an actor spits on him during a scene, but he found a sense of gratitude in understanding the character’s perspective. The director then called for another take without the spit, which made him feel that God was real. Smith thanked the AAFCA and Apple for their support of the film’s budget and for prioritizing the importance of the story. He was absent at the NAACP Image Awards but posted a thank you on Instagram.
The film premiered in November and was briefly involved in controversy when a producer posed with a photograph that inspired the screenplay.