Will Smith won best actor for 'King Richard' Sunday night. But at what cost?_freckle removal price

USA TODAYUSA TODAY

Will Smith won best actor for 'King Richard' Sunday night. But at what cost?

Brian Truitt, USA TODAY·4 min readIn this article:
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  • Will SmithWill SmithAmerican actor
  • Chris RockChris RockAmerican comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer, and director

On Oscar night, Will Smith became the talk of Hollywood – for finally winning an Academy Award, but also for an Oscar fracas none of us could have ever seen coming.

Smith's award-worthy legacy had led him to what was to be a crowning moment. This is the man who made July 4 his own holiday in the 1990s with blockbusters that pulverized the box office. He’s dropped hit rap tunes, written books, played superheroes (plus one blue genie), battled aliens (a few times) and embodied a heavyweight boxing champ.

Sunday was supposed to be the night that honored all of that but instead became an evening forever remembered because of chaos. When Smith walked up on the Academy Awards stage and hoisted a best actor trophy, it was with tears in a complicated moment: Just minutes earlier, he slapped and exchanged heated words with comedian Chris Rock for a "G.I. Jane" joke aimed at his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

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"Love makes you do crazy things," Smith said, apologizing to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the incident that instantly became a "Did that really happen?" sequence that lit up social media and overshadowed the winners that night (including Smith's own film performance).

He started his acceptance speech by name-checking the man he plays in "King Richard" and it wasn't long before tears were streaming down his face as he drew parallels between the movie and what had just happened.

"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 me to do and be in this world," Smith said. "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, you've got to be able to take abuse, you've got to be able to take people talking crazy about you, people disrespecting you, and you got to smile and pretend that's OK."

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