Actor Will Smith made his first public speech at an awards ceremony since the 2022 Oscars incident with Chris Rock. He was at the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards to receive the Beacon Award, which was presented by his Emancipation co-star Charmaine Bingwa and AAFCA co-founder Gil L. Robertson, who also introduced the film’s director Antoine Fuqua.
After a brief speech by Fuqua, Smith went on stage to express his gratitude towards Gil and AAFCA for their work in keeping diverse stories alive. He also thanked Apple for supporting Emancipation despite its multiple budget changes. Smith acknowledged that the film’s story was more important than the cost to produce it, which was a rare message from a movie studio.
In an interview with Deadline before the ceremony, Smith expressed his happiness to be back in the public eye after his previous Oscars experience. He revealed that he is currently working on the fourth installment of his Bad Boys film franchise and likened it to rejoining a family. He also expressed his gratitude towards the individuals and companies that supported Emancipation’s production, a project that meant a lot to him.
The controversy surrounding the Oscars
In 2022, Will Smith was embroiled in a controversy surrounding the Oscars. He was originally set to be a presenter at the award ceremony but pulled out in protest of the lack of diversity among the nominees. He was joined by other actors and filmmakers, who publicly voiced their disapproval of the lack of representation for people of color in the nominations.
Smith’s decision to boycott the Oscars was widely discussed in the media and sparked a heated debate about diversity in Hollywood. Some praised him for taking a stand and using his platform to highlight the issue, while others criticized him for not doing enough to promote diversity in his own films. The controversy highlighted the ongoing need for greater diversity and representation in the entertainment industry and brought attention to the voices of underrepresented communities.
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