Will Smith on King Richard and His Secret Career Fear

Just just did I hear that Denzel had received the most nominations of any Black actor in history. I plan to write a blog post about it as soon as we finish talking.

[On Tuesday, Denzel Washington was nominated for his tenth Academy Award for his work in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.]

Will Smith on King Richard and His Secret Career Fear

Will Smith on King Richard and His Secret Career Fear

Regarding Denzel Washington, I was told that the year 2002 was the first time that two African-American actors were up for the best actor award. Washington took home the award for “Training Day” that year, and here we are 20 years later with you all once again. When you put yourself in that position, how do you feel?

Interestingly enough, I don’t recall ever mentioning this to anyone. When I was nominated twice before, both times the award went to a Black actor.

Once I was defeated by Denzel, and then again by Forest Whitaker. It’s weird, because I was just talking about the lack of diversity among Oscar nominations over the years with my wife Jada [Pinkett Smith] and I was like, “I’ve only ever lost to Black actors!” [Laughs].

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Do You have any Word from the Film’s Helmsman?

Okay, so we talked this morning. He’s so gentle and kind. I told him, “Man, your film is up for best picture, and a number of your performers are also up for awards. Feel free to laugh at me if you like.

He genuinely enjoys other people’s success and is always quick to downplay his own. The thing I enjoy best about him is that he seems to never be trying to get anything for himself. Part of the magic of his work is that it feels real even though it’s being filmed.

You’ve had quite the year, what with the release of “King Richard,” your memoir “Will” in the fall, your new Disney+ documentary about the planet, and the new version of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” coming up next month. Having received this honour, how do you want to celebrate this momentous occasion?

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Our way of Celebrating is by Making Something new.

We always remind ourselves how lucky we are to be able to call this our profession. To be able to wake up and go to work every day is a blessing that should be celebrated.

In my mind, it’s not a matter of “grind, grind, grind and celebrate.” Let’s just give thanks for the chance we’ve been given; doing so is central to my theory that, by cultivating an attitude of appreciation, anyone may achieve great success. I don’t see the need in scheduling special party times.