The Fresh Prince became a king and finally won his first Oscar — but in a more dramatic moment than imagined.
Will Smith took home his first Academy Award on Sunday night for playing Richard Williams — father and tennis mentor to Venus and Serena Williams — in “King Richard.”
Smith spoke shortly after a shocking onstage confrontation with comedian Chris Rock, who made a crack at his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. Smith noted, in tears, that Richard Williams was also fiercely protective of his family. “I want to be a vessel for love,” he said.
He also apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees. “This is a beautiful moment,” he said. “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father. But love will make you do crazy things.”
The Academy Awards posted a brief statement on Twitter after the ceremony saying it "does not condone violence of any form," though without mentioning any specifics around the incident.
The win comes for his third nomination. He was previously nominated for “Ali” in 2002 and “The Pursuit of Happyness” in 2007.
Smith beat out fellow nominees Javier Bardem, Andrew Garfield, Benedict Cumberbatch and Denzel Washington, who trumped Smith for the 2002 best actor Oscar with his win for “Training Day.”