Aunjanue Ellis Chokes Up Over Will Smith’s Support, Pays Tribute to Mom With Oscars Gown (Exclusive)

Her Versace dress includes 'Jax Baby' embroidered across the shoulder.

Aunjanue Ellis, who is a first-time Oscar nominee for her portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, in King Richard, is honoring her own family with her stunning orange Versace gown.

While speaking with ET’s Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner, the actress said that her outfit, which includes “Jax Baby” embroidered across the shoulder, is a tribute to her mother. 

“[This] is a tribute to my mom,” Ellis said on the red carpet for the 94th Academy Awards, joking that her mom, whose full name is Jacqueline Taylor, “would get on your nerves. She would need to be fanned. She would be a lot.” 

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Later, while speaking about working with co-star Will Smith, who is also nominated for his performance in the film, Ellis got emotional reflecting on the journey they’ve gone through together. “I learned in the process of doing this that he’s a superstar but he’s also a good man. Let’s praise people for good men.”

She added, “He tries to be a good man and he did that with me in a stealth way. I didn’t think he thought twice of me… and he’s shown that to me with his actions.”  

For more coverage of the 2022 Oscars, hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, keep checking back with ETonline.