On Tuesday morning (February 8th), the nominees for the 94th Academy Awards were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The event was televised, and Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan read the nominees in each category. As the category for Best Actor was announced, it was revealed that Will Smith had gotten a nomination for his role in King Richard. Smith played Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, in the film which chronicled the early days in their careers. King Richard has gotten strong support since its release from the public and critics alike, and Smith is also set to have a serious shot at winning nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and the Critics Choice Awards. The film, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin, was produced by Warner Bros.
This represents Smith’s third nomination for the award, his first since 2007 when he starred alongside his son Jaden Smith as he portrayed Chris Gardner in the drama The Pursuit of Happyness. His first Oscar nomination, also for portraying a true-life figure, was when he starred in Michael Mann’s Ali as the legendary heavyweight boxer back in 2002. That year, he was beaten out for the Best Actor award by Denzel Washington, who won the golden statuette on a historic night marking the first time two Black actors were in contention for that award. Those Academy Awards also saw the legendary Sidney Poitier being honored as well as Halle Berry take home Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball. This time around, Washington is also nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Smith is currently filming Emancipation, which depicts a runaway slave (played by Smith) fleeing his captors. The movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua. The entertainer is also fresh off of the November 2021 release of his memoir, Will, which has drawn consistent praise and his work on Bel-Air, the dramatic adaptation of his hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which
The 94th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California on March 27th, and will air on ABC.