Watch Will Smith’s Passionate, Spectacular Oscar Acceptance Speech After His Scuffle With Chris Rock


Will Smith has had an… interesting night. During the presentation of the Best Feature Documentary category, he took issue with a joke made by Chris Rock at his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense, prompting him to take the stage and actually slap the comedian, and a few minutes later Smith’s name was announced as the winner of this year’s Best Actor trophy. That’s a level of intense that most people would probably buckle under, but Smith did not, as he instead ended up delivering an acceptance speech that will likely go down in history as one of the all-time great moments at the Academy Awards.

With tears already in his eyes, Will Smith began his speech by talking about how the man he portrays in King Richard, Richard Williams, was a person who took seriously the responsibility of defending his family – clearly a reference to him feeling the need to protect his wife following Chris Rock’s offensive joke. Extending the metaphor and clearly talking off the cuff, he spoke passionately about also protecting his co-stars Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton in the making of the biopic (he shared a a big payday with them after their movie went to streaming), and how he feels about where he is at this point in his career:

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’ve got to be able to take abuse. You have to be able to take people talk crazy about you. In this business you have to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you’ve got to smile and pretend that’s ok.

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