WILL Smith made headlines at the 2022 Oscar Awards after he slapped Chris Rock on stage.
Following the altercation, Smith was then awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in King Richard, and now fans want to know what he said in his acceptance speech.
What did Will Smith say in his Oscars 2022 acceptance speech?
During Smith's speech, he apologized to the Academy, later getting teary-eyed when talking about his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena.
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. 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," Smith said, via The Hollywood Reporter.
"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 play 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.
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"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 pretend like that’s OK," he continued.
"Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, 'At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.' I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena … and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story.
"That’s what I want to do. 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 being able to shine a light on all the people … and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams! But, love will make you do crazy things."
Smith concluded: "To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother — she didn’t want to come out, she has her knitting friends, she has a knitting crew she’s watching with — being able to love and care for my mother and my family and my wife — I’m taking up too much time — thank you for this honor.
"Thank you for this moment. I thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back. Thank you."
Despite the heartfelt apology, fans slammed the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum for not apologizing to Rock.
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Why did Will Smith hit Chris Rock?
Rock was hosting the Academy Awards in 2022 when he made fun of Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia, which is a medical condition that causes hair loss.
While on stage, Rock quipped about her hair, saying: "Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can't wait to see you," in reference to how Demi Moore shaved her head for the role in 1997.
Moments after the joke, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock in the face, later returning to his seat telling Rock twice to, "Keep my wife's name out of your f**king mouth."
Following the altercation, Rock appeared stunned, later telling the audience, "Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me."
The 2022 incident was also not the first time Rock has taken shots at Pinkett Smith.
In 2016, the comedian also commented on her decision to boycott the Oscars that year, saying: "Jada said she's not coming. I was like, 'Isn't she on a TV show?' Jada's gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!"
The Los Angeles Police Department later confirmed that Rock will not be pressing charges.
How can I watch King Richard?
King Richard tells the story of Venus and Serena Williams, who are arguably the best tennis players in the world.
The story focuses on Richard Williams, their father, as he executes a 78-page plan to write his daughters into history.
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The film debuted in theaters in November 2021, and can now be streamed through HBO Max.
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