Will Smith Wins SAG Award for His Portrayal of Venus and Serena's Father Richard Williams

Will Smith Wins SAG Award for His Portrayal of Venus and Serena’s Father Richard Williams

On Sunday, Will Smith was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Male Actor in a Leading Role Motion Picture for his portrayal as Richard Williams, father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.

During his acceptance speech, Smith paid homage to his character and the two sisters at the center of the film. “That may have been one of the greatest moments of my career just now because my name was called for King Richard sitting next to Venus Williams,” He said. “Richard Williams is a dreamer like no one you’ve ever known. He has a power of belief that borders on insanity and sometimes tips over the border, which is absolutely necessary to take something from impossible to possible.”

He continued with celebrating the other cast members and acknowledging Aunjanue Ellis, who portrayed Oracene Williams, as well as Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who played Venus and Serena Williams.

“Aunjanue, you pushed every single day, you demanded authenticity, and you did it in such a beautiful and quiet and powerful way,” he said. “You did Ms. Oracene wonderful justice.”

Smith tearfully thanked the two young actresses who played his daughters, bringing them to tears as well. “Saniyya and Demi, it was such a great honor for me — you guys are actors, so you know how sometimes your onscreen characters bleed into real life — to walk you around this room, to parent you on this film, to deliver you into this business has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.”

Following his remarks, Smith returned to the Williams family, thanking them for executive producing the film but stressing that they made the right decision in signing on after seeing the final product.

“Venus, Serena, the Williams family, you entrusted me and our group with your story,” he concluded. “You didn’t agree to put your name on it until you saw the final cut, I get that. That’s real because we are messing stuff up sometimes. Thank you very much. It was my deepest pleasure to honor your family and tell your story to the world.”

Backstage in the press room, he explained why he was overwhelmed with emotion while speaking.

“Working with children or young people in this business can be so brutal,” he said. “Many times, I’ve seen young people’s spirit broken by the brutality of this business. I took it as a personal endeavor to make sure the girls [of King Richard were safe] … I took the Richard spirit of protector and just watching their faces on this journey, I got overwhelmed with the joy of being able to escort them through the doors of this profession.”

Since his breakout role as the charismatic lead in the hit comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the early 1990s, Smith has been a Hollywood fixture.
Despite a series of great performances, he has yet to win an Academy Award, with nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness but no gold at any big yearly cinema and television awards ceremonies.

Many have predicted that Smith could finally win an Oscar for his work in King Richard since its release last fall, and his win tonight at the SAG Awards puts him in an excellent position to do so. 

About Iesha

Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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