In Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor at the 94th Academy Awards for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. However, his victory came after a tense moment with presenter Chris Rock.
Smith opened his speech by mentioning how Williams, father to tennis superstars Venus and Serena, was a “fierce defender of his family.
He continued to say, “I know that to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you, and you’ve got to smile and you’ve got to pretend that that’s okay.”
He also said that fellow nominee Denzel Washington had told him a few minutes before his win: “at your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” Smith apologized to the Academy and to his fellow nominees, but notably not to Chris Rock.
“Art imitates life,” Smith continued. “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”