Will Smith Wins First Oscar, Apologizes for Chris Rock Altercation in Acceptance Speech — WATCH

It’s official: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an Oscar winner.

Will Smith walked off with the Outstanding Lead Actor trophy at Sunday’s 94th annual Academy Awards for his role as father and coach of famed tennis players Venus and Serena Williams in the biographical sports pic King Richard.

The triumph came in aftermath of Smith’s shocking on-stage altercation with Chris Rock. Smith addressed the incident in his acceptance speech.

“Denzel [Washington] said to me, at your highest moment, be careful — that’s when devil comes for you,” he said, before adding through tears, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to my fellow nominees.”

Watch his full speech below:

Smith — who was heavily favorited to win — prevailed over fellow nominees Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick…BOOM!) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

This marks Smith’s first win in three tries; he was previously nominated for 2002’s Ali and 2007’s The Pursuit of Happyness.

In remains to be seen how many people actually watched Smith’s golden moment. Organizers are hoping this year’s ceremony — hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes — will rebound from the pandemic-delayed 2021 Oscars, which amassed just 10.4 million total viewers — down a whopping 56 percent year-over-year. (Prior to 2020’s first host-less Oscars, which were held a month prior to what would be the onset of the COVID pandemic, the “record holder” for smallest audience was the 2018 telecast hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, which drew 26.5 million viewers.)

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