Will Smith Calls Venus and Serena Williams 'the American Dream' as He Wins at Critics Choice Awards

Nicolas Cage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Dinklage, Will Smith and Denzel Washington were all up for best actor at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards

Will Smith
Will Smith. Photo: The CW

Will Smith continues to be the king of awards season!

On Sunday, the star won best actor at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards for his performance in King Richard. The victory follows wins in the same category at the 2022 SAG Awards and 2022 BAFTA Awards. (He is also nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award.)

"I am here tonight with Venus and Serena [Williams] and their sister Isha," said Smith, 53, in his acceptance speech. "And 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."

Smith produced King Richard and also stars in the sports drama as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Serena, 40, and Venus, 41. The film chronicles the sisters' journey to becoming professional athletes.

"You all define the American dream," Smith addressed the family in his speech. "You represent the best of what we all hope this world and this country can be."

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2022 Critics Choice
Will Smith. Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Smith went on to speak about the Williams sisters' mother Oracene Price "who, for a lot of years, took a really quiet role."

"And I love that we were able to show what your mother did to help create and mold and shape your family, and be able to show to the world the power of faith, the power of unity, the power of family, the power of discipline," he said.

Smith then shouted out Aunjanue Ellis, who played Oracene in the film: "In the same way I feel that your father didn't do it alone, it would be disingenuous for me to accept this [award] without acknowledging Aunjanue Ellis. Thank you, Aunjanue."

The other nominees in the category were Nicolas Cage (Pig), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

RELATED VIDEO: Venus Williams' "Wow" Moment Seeing Will Smith Play Her Father in New Film: He "Embodied My Dad"

Smith recently told the Los Angeles Times that accolades coming this point in his career are somewhat of a surprise, "I had resigned myself in my life that, as an artist, I would never make a film better than [2006's] The Pursuit of Happyness."

"That was the high-water mark. I figured I had reached my artistic pinnacle," he added.

"And then," Smith continued, "we made King Richard, and the amount of people — family, friends, foes, celebrities, politicians, athletes — who have been inspired to make it a point to get in touch with me to tell me that they enjoyed it has been overwhelming."

The 27th annual Critics Choice Awards, hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer, are airing live on The CW and TBS on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

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