US: Twenty years after his first nomination, Will Smith finally won his first Oscar–awarded for Best Actor in a leading role for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena.
The win was overshadowed by the incident earlier in the night, when Smith went up onstage and appeared to attack presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a dig about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has been public about her alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.) After Smith took his seat again, he angrily yelled at Rock twice to “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”
In an emotional acceptance speech after receiving the Oscar, Smith told the audience, “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 you gotta pretend like that’s okay.”
He mentioned speaking to Denzel Washington off camera, who told him, “At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.” Smith thanked the Williams family “for entrusting me with your story,” saying he wanted to be an ambassador for love. “Art imitates life,” he said. “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not Chris Rock. He wrapped up his speech by saying he hopes that the Academy invites him back.
His performance in King Richard was his third Oscar nomination, after Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. King Richard is the origin story of the Williams sisters. Smith has won a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, a Critics Choice Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for this role.
– abc news