Will Smith gave a speech for the first time after his Oscar slapgate incident. After trending in 2022, going undercover, and rising again, Smith was thankful as he accepted his award. While it was not a typical Hollywood event, it was a prestigious award at the African American Film Critics Association.
The event was held on Monday at Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons hotel located in Beverly Hills, California. Appearing on the stage after a long time, Will Smith decided not to acknowledge the elephant in the room, but rather gave a grounded speech about thankfulness and God.
A glance at Will Smith’s acceptance speech
Will Smith, who received the Beacon Award at AAFCA for his comeback film Emancipation, talked about his experience shooting the movie. “Emancipation was the individual most difficult film of my entire career. It was all outdoors, that is true,” Smith joked as per Variety. He further described one of the hard scenes that made him believe in the presence of God. During the shoot, a fellow white actor was required to spit on Smith’s chest after a dialogue. But there had to be a second take and then a third. Following the retakes, director Antoine Fuqua relieved Smith of the spit by cutting out that part. “And in that moment, I knew that God was real,” the actor concluded.
So the Beacon award is usually given for striving for excellence in a work environment. In Smith’s case, the shooting took place during the summer in New Orleans of Louisiana. As per him, the weather conditions were hot and difficult, with a temperature rising to 110°. But regardless, the team stayed and worked hard together to complete the massive project.
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Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua also gave a speech first, thanking his cast crew and Apple films for the grand opportunity. With this speech, the actor broke his long silence and absence.
What do the movie and the award mean for the actor?
Smith came under serious scrutiny after his Oscar incident. He has been banned from the Academy Awards for ten years and his membership is withdrawn. Considering that the AAFCA has been his first appearance ever seen, it will be seen if he is granted an exception for Oscars 2023.
His film Emancipation has been making rounds for being a potential nominee. While there is still no confirmation, Smith has been making rapid public appearances to fix his image.
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What did you think of Will Smith’s speech at the 2023 AAFCA? Put your thoughts in the comments.