Oscars 2022: Will Smith Shares Tearful Acceptance Speech Following Controversial Slap

Last night, Will Smith shared a tearful acceptance speech after winning the Oscar award for best actor for his role as Richard Williams in ‘King Richard’. It followed his controversial slapping of Chris Rock.

It was an eventful night all round at the 2022 Oscars – much more so than usual. After a bald joke aimed at Jada Pinkett-Smith, her husband had walked up on stage and slapped Rock square in the chest. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth,” Smith had gone on to shout at the comedian.

After the tension had settled, Smith later went on to win the award for best actor. His acceptance speech spoke of the responsibility he felt for his family, and also offered some small words of apology to the Academy.

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Credit: A.M.P.A.S

Will Smith Acceptance Speech – 2022 Oscars

Read the full acceptance speech for yourself 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.

“I know, to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse. You gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend like that’s OK.

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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.

Credit: Billboard

Will Smith Acceptance Speech Continued – 2022 Oscars

“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 apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise 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 for 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. Thank you.”

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Rock has decided not to press any charges against Smith, though the LAPD says it will launch a full investigation if a party changes their mind.

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