Will Smith Delivers First In-Person Awards Speech Since 2022 Oscars
Will Smith returned to the awards stage on Wednesday evening to accept the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards ceremony, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The occasion was the actor’s first in-person speech at an awards show since the 2022 Oscars debacle.
Smith accepted the honor with Emancipation director Antione Fuqua. “The Beacon Award is intended to highlight films that are tackling challenging subjects with insight, enlightening, as well as engaging the audience,” the actor said on stage, per THR. “It was our hope that Emancipation, that it would be able to bring Peter’s triumphant story and unwavering faith and his deep love for his family to life.”
Last year, Smith shocked audiences by slapping comedian Chris Rock during a live broadcast of the Academy Awards. Eight months later, he returned to late-night television and sat down with then-Daily Show host Trevor Noah. When Noah asked Smith about his experience following the infamous moment, Smith said it was a “horrific night.”
“There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?” Smith said. “I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all. It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”
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