1. Will Smith made his first awards show appearance at the 2023 African American Film Critics Association Awards alongside the director of his latest film, Emancipation.
2. In his acceptance speech for the Beacon award, Smith recalled a difficult moment while filming the movie, when one of his white co-stars spat on him during a scene.
3. Smith was notably absent from the 2023 NAACP Image Awards but may attend the upcoming Academy Awards, after previously being banned for 10 years due to a physical altercation with Chris Rock.
Will Smith made a comeback to the red carpet at the 2023 African American Film Critics Association Awards, where he and Antoine Fuqua, the director of their Apple TV+ movie Emancipation, accept the Beacon award. During his speech, Smith expressed the difficulties he faced while shooting the film, which follows the true story of a slave who frees himself. He talks about how hard it is for modern people to put themselves in that time period and understand how bad things were.
Smith then delves into one of the most significant moments in his career while filming the movie. On the second day of shooting, while doing an intense scene with one of his white co-stars, the actor spat in the middle of his chest while ad-libbing. Smith, taken aback, bravely carried on with the scene, and they decided to run it back the same way. He felt grateful for the opportunity to understand and learn the extent of the struggle Black people faced back then, a moment that left him teary-eyed. The director then intervened, requesting they do another take, this time without the spit.
This is the first awards show that Will Smith has been to since he got into a fight with Chris Rock and was banned from the Oscars for ten years. Though Smith seems to have moved past the incident, it remains to be seen how Rock feels. The comedy special he has coming up on Netflix on March 4 may shed some light on this. Smith didn’t go to the 2023 NAACP Image Awards, which were held on February 25, even though he won the award for best actor in a movie. Still, Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, and Courtney B. Vance, along with other Hollywood stars and friends, celebrated his return at the AAFCA Awards.
Smith’s speech raises critical issues about the importance of black storytelling and the appreciation and understanding of black history. With Emancipation, Smith hopes to bring that to the forefront and educate audiences on the struggles of the past. It’s evident that this movie holds immense meaning to him and highlights the hard work and dedication he has put into this project. Awards aside, he emphasized the significant role Emancipation played in his personal growth and learning journey.