Will Smith Responds To Potential Oscar Slap Backlash to Upcoming Movie

Will Smith addresses how his infamous Oscars moment might affect the popularity of his upcoming movie Emancipation.

As reported by Screenrant, Smith suffered a major career blow in the wake of the incident at this year’s Oscars. During the same ceremony when he received his first Best Actor award, the veteran performer instead found backlash after he responded to one of Chris Rock’s jokes by taking the stage and slapping the comedian.

The aftermath saw multiple Smith projects postponed and numerous Hollywood peers voicing their anger.

The ire has mostly died down in the eight months since the notorious slap. Smith’s first post-slap release, Emancipation, is set to debut this December.

The film is a historical thriller that follows Smith’s character as he evades slave hunters in the swamps of Louisiana, venturing north for freedom.

Emancipation is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and is the type of film that would likely garner considerable Oscar buzz if not the slap controversy.

While speaking with journalist Kevin McCarthy (via Variety), Smith opened up about the possibility of backlash reemerging ahead of Emancipation’s release. His full quote can be read below:

“I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready. My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for. I’m hoping that the material — the power of the film, the timeliness of the story — I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

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