Will Smith back on the awards circuit


Will Smith returned to the awards season circuit on Wednesday to accept the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards. The speech marks the Oscar winner’s first in-person acceptance at an awards show since the slap Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards.

He accepted the award alongside his Liberation director Antoni Fuca, who opened the acceptance speech by explaining the significance of the award. “The aim of the Beacon Awards is to highlight films that are tackling challenging topics in a way that is insightful, enlightening, as well as engaging to the audience,” he said. “It was our hope that Salvation would be able to bring to life Peter’s story of triumph and unwavering faith and his deep love for his family.” The director thanked Apple, the AAFCA and the film’s cast and crew before handing over the mic to Smith.

“Mukti was the most personally difficult film of my entire career,” the actor said as he began his speech. “It’s really hard to get the modern mind to that time. It’s hard to imagine, that level of inhumanity.

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He described his experience filming the AppleTV+ movie, in which he plays Peter, an enslaved man who expresses his freedom. Smith then recalled being spat on by a white co-star while filming a tense scene, and how it affected his understanding of the injustices of the slavery era.

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