Oscars 2022: Will Smith's Oscar acceptance speech in full after hitting Chris Rock

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·4-min read

Watch: Will Smith tearfully accepts Oscar moments after hitting Chris Rock on stage

The 2022 Oscars were thrown into chaos after Will Smith stormed the stage and hit Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, just minutes before Smith was named best actor at the ceremony.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, 53, took to the stage after being named Best Actor for his performance as Richard Williams — the father of tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams — in King Richard. Smith embraced the awards presenters Uma Thurman, Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta before making his heavily emotional speech.

Read more: Will Smith apologises after slapping Rock at the Oscars

Read it in full below:

"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.

TOPSHOT - US actor Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for
Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard". (Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

"Making this film I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses that 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, and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that‘s OK.

Read more: LAPD not investigating altercation at Oscars

"But Richard Williams, and what I loved, thank you D. Denzel (Washington) said to me a few minutes ago, he said, “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - March 27, 2022.   Denzel Washington comforts Will Smith  during the show  at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.  (Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Denzel Washington comforts Will Smith during the show at the 94th Academy Awards. (Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"It’s like I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena.

"I just spit, I hope they didn’t see that.

"I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.

"I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: In this handout photo provided by A.M.P.A.S.,  (L-R) Serena Williams and Venus Williams are seen backstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by  Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)
(L-R) Serena Williams and Venus Williams are seen backstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards. (Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

"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 on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjunue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family.

Read more: Rock's joke about Jada in 2016 resurfaces

Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.

US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars (AFP via Getty Images)

To my mother. Um, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother. She didn’t want to come out. She had her knitting friends, she has a knitting crew watching with her. Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife.

I’m taking up too much time. Thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment. I thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene, the entire Williams family. Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back.

Thank you."

Watch: Will Smith wins Oscar after slapping Chris Rock

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