AceShowbiz - Will Smith's work is still recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) despite the Oscars slap controversy. The actor won an award at the 54th NAACP Image Awards, which was presented on Saturday, February 25.
At the ceremony, which took place at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, Smith was named Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role as a slave named Peter in "Emancipation". He wasn't present to accept the award in person, but has since taken to social media to share his humble response.
"WOW!! NAACP!! I am absolutely humbled by this!!" he posted on Instagram on Saturday night. "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."
"I would like to thank the NAACP for honoring our film!" the 54-year-old added. "@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."
Smith also gave a shout-out to Queen Latifah, who served as the host at the NAACP Image Awards. "Also - can we give my girl @queenlatifah her flowers? She is KILLIN' it as host tonight!" he concluded his post.
Set in 19th century Louisiana, "Emancipation" centers on African-American enslaved Peter, who escapes from Louisiana to freedom. It's inspired by an 1863 photograph known as "Whipped Peter", which captures a man's bare back heavily scourged from an overseer's whippings. The image gave the abolitionist movement proof of the cruelty of slavery.
Ahead of the film's release on Apple TV+ in December 2022, Smith revealed his hope that his infamous incident at the 2022 Oscars, in which he slapped Chris Rock onstage, didn't penalize the movie's crew. "My deepest concern is my team," he said back in November.
Praising Antoine Fuqua's work on the slave drama, Smith claimed, "Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers." He added that his "deepest hope is that my actions don't penalize my team. At this point, that's what I'm working for."