Will Smith has finally returned to grace award shows with his presence. It has been a rough time for Will Smith ever since the internet-breaking 2022 Oscars slap incident. Putting all of those feelings behind him, the movie star has finally eased up to the award show podium.
Will Smith took to the stage to accept the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards. The speech marked Smith’s first in-person speech at an awards ceremony since his controversy at the 2022 Oscars. It’s one of the most infamous incidents where Will slapped Chris Rock on stage.
Smith was accepting the Beacon award alongside director Antoine Fuqua for their 2022 Apple TV+ slavery drama Emancipation. Smith continued by describing a scene from the set in which one of his co-stars spit at him while acting out the part. He continued by discussing the movie in more detail and recalling the production’s backstage activities.
“Emancipation was the most individual difficult film of my entire career. It’s really difficult to transport a modern mind to that time period. It’s difficult to imagine that, that level of inhumanity.”
Before the award show, Smith’s “Emancipation” costar Charmaine Bingwa praised Smith. She mentioned that the legendary actor went out of his way to show his appreciation for “Emancipation” actors. It was mostly due to the fact that they were filming an especially difficult scene in some of the toughest settings.
“There was a scene where the people had to lay dead in a tunnel… And Will just said, ‘you guys are doing a fantastic job. I know this is really tough.’ And he gave them all an extra $1,000 out of his own pocke. He’s just a great guy.”
Smith portrays Peter in the film. He plays an enslaved man who never gives up on his dream of freedom. The character is an amalgamation of real individuals largely based on a famous photograph of a man’s back covered in whipped scars.
Following his actions at the 2022 Oscars, Smith was banned from attending any Academy events for 10 years. However, he has since then gathered the courage to move on from it and attend award shows like these.
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