WATCH: Will Smith gets emotional after Best Actor Oscar win for sports biopic King Richard
Playing the role of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams' father in King Richard, Will Smith bagged his first Academy Award for the portrayal in a drama-filled evening at the Dolby Theatre.
Will Smith broke down into tears and became emotional while accepting his first Academy Award for playing the role of Richard Williams in the 2021 biographical sports drama, King Richard, based on the lives of tennis legends, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
The Reinaldo Marcus Green directed movie outlines Williams' pivotal role as a father helping his daughters - Serena and Venus nurture their tennis dreams and turn them into champions.
Starring Will Smith in the title role, alongside Aunjanue Ellis as his wife Brandy, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton as Venus and Serena, and Jon Bernthal as tennis coach Rick Macci, King Richard also had Venus and Serena Williams as executive producers on the venture.
At the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles where the 94th Academy Awards were being held, much before Will Smith was announced as the winner for the Best Actor, a lot of drama had already transpired when Smith lashed out and apparently punched presenter Chris Rock in the face for making a joke on his wife, Jada.
Addressing his actions and staying in tune with his character, a visibly emotional Will Smith 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 is 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. And I know we do what we do you and gotta be able to take abuse and have people talk crazy about you. In this business, people abuse you and you gotta smile and pretend like that's ok."
Still wiping tears from his face, Smith continued, "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. I wanna be an ambassador for that kind of love and care and concern.
Smith even went on to apologise and said, "I wanna apologise to the Academy and to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I'm crying for winning an award. It's not about winning an award for me it's about being able to shine a light on all of the people, the entire cast and crew."
Continuing, Smith said: "Art imitates life! I looked like the crazy father, just like they said. But love will make you do crazy things."
Smith finished by thanking his mother, who he said couldn't attend as she was busy with her knitting circle. "Thank you for this moment," he concluded. "I hope the Academy invites me back."
Will Smith won the Oscar side-stepping other notable nominees like Andrew Garfield, Javier Bardem, Denzel Washington and Benedict Cumberbatch.