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Emancipation’s Will Smith Responds To Critics Who Think The Movie Is Being Released Too Soon After The Oscars Slap

CinemaBlend 11/28/2022 Corey Chichizola
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It’s almost hard to believe it, but the 2022 Academy Awards happened back in March. Despite the time passed, there continues to be a ton of discourse surrounding the moment where Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock on national television. After being out of the public eye for months, the King Richard actor will have his first major release with Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation. And Smith recently responded to critics who think the movie is being released too soon after the Oscars slap.

Emancipation was in the works long before the slap, and the historical action thriller will arrive in theaters this December, before also becoming available to stream on AppleTV+. This obviously marks the potential start of a comeback for Will Smith, but it sounds like he’s hoping the movie will speak for itself. Smith was recently interview by ReelBlend co-host Jake Hamilton about Emancipation, where he was spoke about the critics out there who might have trouble distinguishing the character from the man. In his words,

There you have it. While Will Smith seems to understand why some people might have some cognitive dissonance surrounding Emancipation, he’s thinks that that’ll soon go away when folks actually sit down to watch it. Namely because the work by Antoine Fuqua and the rest of the cast/crew are so transformative. Luckily moviegoers won’t have to wait too much longer before being able to judge for themselves. 

Since The Slap, Will Smith has issued a number of apologies to fans, the Film Academy, and Chris Rock and his loved ones. After staying out of the public eye for months, he recently returned to social media, in-person appearances, and is even doing press for Emancipation. His new movie certainly looks gripping and powerful, check out the latest trailer below:

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The release of Emancipation should allow the movie to have Awards Season contention, which feels like a strange full-circle moment when pondering the last year of Will Smith’s life/career. Although if if gets major Oscars nominations, Smith seemingly won’t be able to attend the ceremony; he was banned for ten years as punishment for his actions. He also voluntarily resigned from the Academy last year.

Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation is based off the true story of Gordon aka Whipped Peter, who was a an escaped slave turned Union soldier. Photos of his scarring from being whipped became a major image in the abolitionist movement, and is still in textbooks today, showing the atrocities of slavery. 

Emancipation will hit select theaters on December 2nd, before hitting AppleTV+ on December 9th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 release dates to plan your next movie experience. It remains to be seen if/when other projects from Will Smith will get their release. 

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