Will Smith Addresses Chris Rock Altercation in Oscars Acceptance Speech: ‘Love Will Make You Do Crazy Things’
Less than an hour after Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock on the Oscars stage — following Rock’s joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith — the King Richard actor won for Best Actor in a Leading Role as the titular Richard Williams.
When the nominees were read, Smith was in his seat and his eyes looked red. After he was announced as the winner, he had a moment with his wife and they kissed. He received a standing ovation as he took the stage for his acceptance speech.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” he began as he got emotional. “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 is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve 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. 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 you gotta pretend like that’s OK,” he continued. “But Richard Williams and what I loved — thank you D, Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.’ It’s like I want to be a vessel for love.”
He went on to thank Venus, Serena, and the entire Williams family for entrusting him with their story. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all 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 bring able to shine a light” on the cast, crew, and Williams family, he said. “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
He concluded by talking about his mother, thanking the Academy for the honor and with “I hope the Academy invites me back.” At one point, the broadcast showed the Oscars logo instead of Smith or the audience.