Will Smith has delivered his first acceptance speech at an awards show since slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards. After winning The Beacon Award alongside director Antoine Fuqua for their work on Emancipation, Smith addressed the crowd at the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, on Wednesday night.
“Emancipation was the individual most difficult film of my entire career. It was all outdoors, that is true,” he joked, according to Variety. “It was the second day of shooting, and 110 degrees… I was in a scene with one of the white actors. The actor decided to ad-lib. So, we’re doing the scene. I did my line. He did his line. And then – ad lib – he spit in the middle of my chest. The actor felt that the ad-lib had gone well. So, we do take two. I do my line. He does his line – and spits in the middle of my chest again… In the distance, I hear a voice. And Antoine says, ‘Hey, let’s do a take without the spit.’ And in that moment, I knew that God was real.”
Will Smith At The AAFCA Awards
Smith further thanked AAFCA officials for “keeping our stories alive” as well as producers at Apple TV+ for their support in making the project. “It was the first time I had heard from a studio that the story was more important than how much it costs to get it done… They make iPhones. They can do it,” he said. Smith also recently won Best Actor at the NAACP Image Awards but wasn’t present to accept the award.
While Smith appears to be moving on from the 2022 Oscars incident, Chris Rock brought the slap up again during his new Netflix special, Selective Outrage. On stage, the comedian joked about Jada’s infamous “entanglement” cheating scandal involving August Alsina. He poked fun at Smith for discussing the scandal during an episode of Jada’s Red Table Talk show.