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'Gemini Man' film premiere, Arrivals, TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Oct 2019

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Will Smith won’t be at the 95th annual Oscars ceremony next month, and since we all know why we can skip right to some good news. Smith was recognized for his work on Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation by the NAACP Image Awards, which elected him Best Actor in a Motion Picture for the role.

The awards aired live on BET Saturday night, and Smith celebrated the victory on Instagram.

“WOW!! NAACP!! I am absolutely humbled by this!!,” Smith posted. “ I want to share this with my entire #Emancipation family – @antoinefuqua@charmainebingwa, Ben, Bob, Jon the whole team at @westbrook and @appletvplus… I am so proud of the work we put into this film,” he wrote. “I would like to thank the NAACP for honoring our film! @derricknaacp – you and your entire organization – and the work you do all year round – is truly important, so to be recognized by y’all – it means a lot.”

Emancipation is the fictionalized version of the life of Whipped Peter, a real-life figure who was photographed by the Union Army during the Civil War when he escaped to join their ranks. The photograph, which showed the raised whip scars on Peter’s back, was published in a magazine and is viewed as the image that definitively showed the horrors of slavery.

Despite the story told in the film, Peter’s last name and his ultimate fate are lost to history.

Smith hasn’t received a major award since the Oscars, but Emancipation is his only project that has come out since. He announced, also on Instagram, that he and Martin Lawrence would be working on Bad Boys 4 with Bad Boys For Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.

Smith filmed himself driving to Lawrence’s house to make the announcement saying, “I wish I was you, not knowing what I’m about to show me,” he said.

Once Smith made it to his costar’s front door, the duo joked that they’d already used the title that would have made more sense for the film now known as Bad Boys 4.

The Bad Boys franchise got started way back in 1995, making $141 million globally. 2003’s Bad Boys II almost doubled that with $273 million, while Bad Boys For Life, which came out in January 2020, made $426 million.

Smith hasn’t announced any definite other projects yet, but of those still in development, I Am Legend 2, which he was planning with Michael B. Jordan, looks the most promising.

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"Emancipation" European Premiere - Arrivals
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