Will Smith Says 'It Feels Beautiful' to Be Recognized for His Work in 'King Richard' (Exclusive)
By Mona Khalifeh
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Will Smith is soaking it all in. ET's Rachel Smith spoke to the King Richard star at the National Board of Review Gala in New York City Tuesday about his awards season wins and what it means to him to be recognized for his work in the film.
"It feels great! I was saying to someone the other night, this is what I'm always trying to do. I’m always trying to make something that resonates, and the message penetrates. I am just taking the ride. It feels beautiful to be in this wave of love that people have for this film," Smith told ET.
The I Am Legend actor joked that he'd normally talk up his accolades, but this time around he said he's being "dragged around by the good angels" as he picks up award after award for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams.
In addition to his National Board of Review win, Smith has already picked up a Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild Award and most recently, a Critics' Choice Award for the film, which details his journey in raising his daughters to become the tennis icons they are today.
"Under normal circumstances I would say something about what I planned, and I how, 'I knew we were gonna be here. And I remember from the first time I read the screenplay, I just knew,'" Smith quipped. "I am being dragged around by the good angels on this one."
Smith has been going up against his friend and colleague, Denzel Washington, who is nominated for his work in, The Tragedy of Macbeth. As far as how it feels to be up against one of the greats for that coveted Academy Award, Smith said at this point in awards season, it's more about celebrating what they do as actors than any actual competition at hand.
"The time from the nomination to the show is around three months. And, as an actor, it's like, the highest feeling you can have, as an actor. At that point, everybody's winners. You don't know how it's gonna show out, there's no real competition. It's out of your hands," he explained. "So, it's a celebration of what we do that happens in this period that is the greatest, beautiful experience as an actor."
Thanks to awards season, Smith said he's seen Washington more in the last three months than the entire pandemic combined.
"And I've seen Denzel more in the last three months than I've seen in the last three COVID years," Smith shared. "We spent a lot of time before, but to be able to see each other, pretty much every night during this time, has been beautiful."
Smith spoke about playing the tennis coach during his Critics Choice Awards win Sunday, where he thanked the Williams family for their inspiration, not only to him, but the rest of the world.
"I really just want to say to all of you, thank you for entrusting me with your story. What you were able to do and what your family was able to do inspired everyone in this room, everyone in this country, and everyone around the world," he said.
For more on Smith and the epic biopic, check out the video below.