Oscar 2022: Will Smith, Best Actor–King Richard (Show’s Emotional Highlight)

Oscars 2022: Best Actor–Will Smith’s Acceptance Speech

The actor won for King Richard moments after storming on stage to slap presenter Chris Rock for a joke the comic made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith stormed onto the Oscars stage on Sunday night to slap presenter Chris Rock.  

The actor, who went on to win best leading actor for King Richard later in the show, slapped the comedian after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, quipping that she was getting ready to appear in a sequel to G.I. Jane.

The joke was an apparent reference to the actress having shaved her head–Pinkett Smith has been open about having hair loss due to alopecia.

Then Smith took to the stage and smacked Rock in the mouth; returning to his seat, he told Rock multiple times to “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

Later, Smith then took home the best actor award for playing Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, with tears in his eyes and after receiving a standing ovation, using his speech to apologize. Read his full speech below.


Will Smith

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. 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 Sinai and Demi, the two actresses who 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.


I know, to do what we do, we got to 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.


Denzel (Washington) said to me a few minutes ago, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Vessel of Love

I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say, Thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for trusting me with your story.

I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care. 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 lot 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.

Hoping the Academy invites me back!