Academy member says Will Smith must return Oscar to restore ‘national conscience’

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A member of the Motion Picture Academy called Will Smith’s 10-year Oscar ban a “toothless penalty” and said the performer should “voluntarily” return his award for best actor.

Veteran screen and stage actor Harry Lennix compared Smith’s penalty for smacking Chris Rock over a joke “an extended time out for a playground bully” that “lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals” in a scathing Variety op-ed Saturday.

Lennix, a prolific character actor best known for his role in “The Five Heartbeats,” said it was “galling” for Smith to have been allowed to accept his “King Richard” Oscar and refer to the “will of God” in his speech.

“Smith’s brutality stripped the entire evening of its prestige,” Lennix, 57, wrote. “That was proven when stunned Oscar attendees gave a standing ovation to someone who’d just committed an assault in front of their eyes.”

Rock had cracked a bald joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. Lennix had played a love interest of Pinkett Smith’s character Niobe in “The Matrix” series.

Harry Lennix said it was irritating for Will Smith to be able to accept his Oscar and refer to the “will of God” in his speech. Patrick McMullan via Getty Image Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award during the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood. Getty Images

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“With one deft blow, Will Smith created an existential crisis for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,” Lennix said. “The incident was such a jolt to societal norms that it will gnaw away at our national conscience until somehow properly atoned for.”

Smith resigned from the Academy before it levied its decade-long ban on the actor, but Lennix said the punishment did not fit the crime.

“The stain on the Motion Picture Academy cannot be easily remediated. The only hope for a justifiable grace must involve Smith voluntarily returning his award for best actor.”

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. AFP via Getty Images

Smith apologized to Rock online a day after the incident. Rock had yet to speak in detail about the attack and declined to press charges.

The Academy was said to be split on forcing Smith to return his trophy. Some dissenters noted that honorees convicted of serious crimes like Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski were allowed to hold onto theirs, while others argued the extremely public nature of Smith’s attack demanded the unprecedented rescindment.

What Religion Is Will Smith? Is He A Scientologist?

There have been a lot of rumors about Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s religious beliefs as Jada was seen at a Scientology church.

Will Smith is Christian. Jada has since denied the rumor that she and Will are scientologists and Will has openly posted about his faith in God.

Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

Continue reading to find out more about Will Smith’s religious background and why people believe he may be a scientologist.

Christian Upbringing

Will has not outright claimed he is still a Christian today, but he says he grew up being a Christian.

He further expands by saying:

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Where Did Will Smith Grow Up?

My grandmother was really my connection to God. She was the most spiritually centered person that I had ever met in my entire life. Even to the point that when she was dying she was happy like she was really excited about going to Heaven.

Will Smith

It is assumed that he carried on his grandmother’s teachings and beliefs as he often donates to Christian charities.

His most well-known and biggest donations are often to a Christian based organization called Yesha Ministries of Philadelphia.

It is assumed that he has a relationship with Reverend James Robinson, who runs the organization, due to the organization being based in Will’s hometown of Philadelphia and because of the sum and consistency of his donations ($140,000 in 2007, then $250,000 in 2008).

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He also donates to a Christian ministry outside his new hometown, Los Angeles, called Living Waters.

He also often posts inspirational messages on his Instagram, but once also posted a caption on a video of him skydiving saying, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear”.

This is an outward declaration of his belief in God, so it is likely he is still a practicing Christian.

Furthermore, Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, has also been open about his belief in God. He has posted on Facebook before saying “God bless”.

Also, in 2019, he partnered with a church, First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, to provide Flint, Michigan residents with clean water and water filtration systems as the city has been without clean water since 2014.

While this does not outwardly mean he is Christian or a member of the church, it is likely as there are many other organizations he could have worked with.

Children’s religious beliefs tend to come from their parents. So, it is likely that Will and Jada raised them either Christian or raised them to be aware of Christianity and God.

What did Will Smith say in his Oscars 2022 acceptance speech?

WILL Smith made headlines at the 2022 Oscar Awards after he slapped Chris Rock on stage.

Following the altercation, Smith was then awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in King Richard, and now fans want to know what he said in his acceptance speech.

Will Smith won the 2022 Academy Award for Best Actor

What did Will Smith say in his Oscars 2022 acceptance speech?

During Smith’s speech, he apologized to the Academy, later getting teary-eyed when talking about his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world,” Smith said, via The Hollywood Reporter.

“Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya [Sidney] and Demi [Singleton], the two actresses that play Venus and Serena. I’m being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people and to be a river to my people.

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“I know, to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse. You gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you, and you gotta smile and pretend like that’s OK,” he continued.

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“Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.’ I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena … and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story.

“That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award.

“It’s not about winning an award for me; it’s about being able to shine a light on all the people … and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams! But, love will make you do crazy things.”

Smith concluded: “To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother — she didn’t want to come out, she has her knitting friends, she has a knitting crew she’s watching with — being able to love and care for my mother and my family and my wife — I’m taking up too much time — thank you for this honor.

“Thank you for this moment. I thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back. Thank you.”

Despite the heartfelt apology, fans slammed the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum for not apologizing to Rock.

Source https://nypost.com/2022/04/10/will-smith-must-return-oscar-to-restore-national-conscience-says-harry-lenix/

Source https://celebanswers.com/what-religion-is-will-smith/

Source https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/celebrities/18090692/what-will-smith-say-oscars-2022-acceptance-speech/

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