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Oscars 2022: Will Smith wins best actor award for King Richard moments after hitting Chris Rock

A tearful Will Smith has won the best actor award, minutes after unleashing one of the most unusual moments in Oscars history — attacking comedian Chris Rock live on stage.

In a bizarre acceptance speech, given his earlier actions, Smith said people in showbiz needed to be able to take abuse.

“I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business. You got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you got to smile and you got pretend like that’s OK,” Smith said.

Smith, one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, said he was “being called on” to “protect” those he loves.

“It’s like I wanna be a vessel for love, I wanna say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I wanna do, I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.”

Smith went on to apologise for his actions, and insisted he wasn’t crying because of his win.

Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Camera IconWill Smith cries as he accepts the award. He went on to apologise for his violent outburst, but notably not to Chris Rock. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

He said “I want to apologise to the Academy, 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. Tim and Trevor and Zac, and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard, Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family.

“Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.

“Love will make you do crazy things.

“To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother, she didn’t want to come, she has her knitting crew she’s watching with. Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife thank you for this honour, thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment. I thank you on behalf of Richard, Oracene, and the entire Williams family.”

A few minutes later, rapper Sean Combs — on stage to introduce a tribute to The Godfather — tried to play peacemaker and suggested Smith and Rock settle their differences at an Oscars after party.

“Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family at the Gold party,” Combs said.

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