The slap heard ‘round the world isn’t keeping Will Smith from picking up accolades for his performance as Venus and Serena William’s father in King Richard.
At the BET Awards on Sunday — three months after he took to the Oscars stage to lash out physically at host Chris Rock — Smith, 53, won Best Actor for his performance, just like he did at the Oscars on the night of the slap.
For the win, Rock beat out fellow actors Adrian Holmes and Jabari Banks for Bel Air, Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, Damson Idris for Snowfall, Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth, Forest Whitaker for Respect and Godfather of Harlem, and Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us.
He did not, however, attend the ceremony to accept the award in person.
The infamous incident, which occurred on live TV on March 27th, began when Rock, 57, joked “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” His quip was in reference to Pinket Smith’s short haircut, which she recently opened up about as being a result of her struggle with hair-loss condition alopecia.
After seeing his wife’s expression of disapproval, Smith stood up from his seat next to her, walked on stage, and smacked Rock in the face before walking back to his spot in the audience.
“Oh wow,” said Rock, clearly shocked. “Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me.”
From the audience, Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
“Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” replied Rock — to which Smith yelled again, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
“I’m going to, okay?” Rock said. After a beat, he continued, “That was the … greatest night in the history of television.” The show continued as Rock presented the next award. Later that night, Smith took to the stage for an acceptance speech after being awarded Best Actor.
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he said through tears. “Art imitates life: I look like the crazy father. Just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
He ended the speech by saying, “Being able to love and care for my mother and my family, my wife … Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this moment. … I hope the Academy invites me back.”
In the wake of the controversy, Will Smith resigned from the Academy and was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years.