Read Will Smith's moving acceptance speech after winning ‘best actor’

Following the brief altercation with Chris Rock, Will Smith received a standing ovation after he bagged the best actor award at this year’s Oscars for his titular character ‘Richard Williams’ in the biopic King Richard.

Read Will Smith's moving acceptance speech after winning ‘best actor’

In a tearful tone, he began

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said to chuckles from the audience in accepting his Best Actor statue for portraying the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. “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 was one of the most strongest, most delicate people I ever met. I got to protect Saniyya (Sidney) and Demi (Singleton), the two actresses that played 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.”

From there, Smith alluded to the shocking earlier incident in which he went to the stage and seemingly attacked Chris Rock for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“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 that that’s OK. … Denzel (Washington) said to me at the highest moment, be careful — that’s when the devil comes for you,” continued a tearful, choked-up Smith.

“It’s like, 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. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.”

He then offered an apology to the Academy and other honorees.

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all of 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 of the people … Art imitates life; I looked like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things. … Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife … thank you for this honor, thank you for this moment. “Thank you; hoping the Academy invites me back.”

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