Throughout 2022’s awards season run, Will Smith has been one of the constant competitors in the acting space. With his performance as Richard Williams in the biopic King Richard, Smith has been landing a slew of nominations, which includes his most recent nomination for an Academy Award. As he celebrated his most recent honor from the National Board of Review, Will Smith reflected on how his “red, tight shorts” have helped him, and what this crazy ride feels like.
How King Richard’s Red, Tight Shorts Helped Will Smith Land Award Noms
Will Smith was awarded Best Actor at this year’s National Board of Review gala. In his usual, reflective manner, Smith spoke with members of the press on hand to break down just why his King Richard role seemed work so well. Speaking to Variety at the event in question, here’s what he had to say about those red shorts:
With Richard Williams, it was one of those ones where it was taking longer and longer, and as an actor you take a leap of faith. You say, yes, you think you can get it. For Richard Williams — this is not a joke — when I put those shorts on, those red tight short shorts, I was like ‘Ok, I think I can do this here.’ It gave me an insight into Richard Williams. The clothes that he wore, he had a vision of himself.
Chronicling the determined vision that Richard had for his daughters, tennis legends Serena and Venus, King Richard is all about that sort of perseverance. While Will Smith certainly isn’t short on drive and motivation, reading that a big source of his powerful performance was simply in the costuming makes it all the more powerful. The results couldn’t be clearer either, as Smith’s been having one wild ride through the current awards cycle.
Winning everything from local critics boards to the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, Will Smith has had quite a dominating run. The most recent stops on his victory tour, in addition to the National Board of Review, saw Smith also enjoying a very emotional victory at this year’s SAG Awards. It’s a wave of praise that even Will Smith seems to be thankfully surprised by.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
The Awards Season Race, And How It Feels According To Will Smith
This fresh triumph for King Richard’s leading man was also the topic of discussion between Smith and the folks at ET. All of the awards mentioned above surely must have an effect on Will Smith, who’s being hotly touted to bring home his first win at the Academy Awards later this month. Whether he’s thinking about that golden battlefield or not, Smith showed his typical gracious nature when describing his awards season run in the following context:
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. 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.’ I am being dragged around by the good angels on this one.
Always selective about his projects, this is the same actor who turned down the lead role in Django Unchained for very specific reasons. Positivity and enrichment are two things that Will Smith always seeks to put into the world, and knowing why he fell for Richard’s character before making the movie only doubles down on those beliefs. This time, when selecting King Richard’s heartwarming story of family and destiny, it looks like Smith is receiving both of those key beliefs from the peers that are acknowledging his work.
We’ll see whether or not Will Smith brings home the gold on March 27th, when the 93rd Academy Awards air live on ABC. In the meantime, you can catch his performance as Richard Williams in director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard, which is currently available for rental or purchase, in physical and digital media. All other inquiries about 2022’s upcoming movies should be directed to our full rundown of the schedule to come.