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Will Smith gives tearful acceptance speech at Oscars, apologies for hitting Chris Rock

Will Smith gives tearful acceptance speech at Oscars, apologies for hitting Chris Rock

The actor took a moment to apologise to the Academy for storming the stage.
28 March 2022 4:48PM

An emotional Will Smith broke down in tears and apologised while accepting the Academy Award for Best Actor just moments after storming the stage and hitting Chris Rock. 

The King Richard star took out one of the evening's highest honours after leaving the entire audience in a state of shock with his furious response to Chris Rock's joke about the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

Citing his character from 'King Richard', Will began his speech: "Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family", which appeared to be a not-so-subtle nod to the chaos that just went down. 

"In this time of my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world," he said, becoming visibly emotional. 

"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 gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you," he went on, now seemingly referencing Chris Rock's gag about Jada's shaved head - which is due to the star's alopecia. 

"In this business you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend it's okay. 

In response to some inaudible words of encouragement from Denzel Washington, Will stopped and replied "Thank you, D." 

"Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, he said, 'at your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you'." 

"I wanna apologise to the Academy, I wanna apologise to my fellow nominees," Will added, but notably did not name Chris Rock in his apology. 

"This is a beautiful moment." 

"Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Mr Williams. Love makes you do crazy things." 

Before leaving the stage after the nearly five-minute-long speech, Will said "I hope the Academy invites me back," managing a small laugh through his tears.