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Will Smith defends punch as he accepts Best Actor Oscar

Will Smith defends punch as he accepts Best Actor Oscar

Will Smith insisted he is "being called on" to "protect" those he loves as he picked up the Best Actor Oscar.

The 53-year-old actor had caused a stir earlier on Sunday (27.03.22) evening when he punched Chris Rock in response he made to a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and he addressed his actions as he accepted the accolade on stage at Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre in recognition of his performance as Richard Williams in 'King Richard'.

He tearfully said: "Oh man. 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 on me to do and be in this world.

"Making this film, I got to protect, Aunjanue Ellis, who was one of the strongest, most delicate people I've ever met. I got to protect Saniyya [Sidney] and Demi [Singleton], the two actresses who played Venus and Serena.

"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, in this business, you've got to be able to have people disrespecting you. You gotta smile and pretend like that's OK.

"Thank you D - Denzel [Washington] said a couple of minutes ago, be careful, at your highest moment, that's when the devil comes for you.

"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."

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

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."

And the 'Men in Black' star - who won ahead of Javier Bardem ('Being the Ricardos'), Benedict Cumberbatch ('The Power of the Dog'), Andrew Garfield ('Tick, Tick … Boom!') and

Denzel Washington ('The Tragedy of Macbeth') - admitted he was concerned he wouldn't be welcomed back to the Academy Awards in future.

He said: "I hope the Academy invites me back, thank you."

Originally published on celebretainment.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.