IT’S been nearly a year since Will Smith dominated the headlines at the Oscars with the slap on Chris Rock, which reverberated around the world and left the star out in the cold.
But a leading industry figure celebrated this week for her career work in Hollywood insists that the industry has forgiven him as he, like all humans, is “fallible.”
And another senior Academy member revealed exclusively to The U.S. Sun how they believe Smith was on course for a “double Oscar win” with Emancipation had he not been banned for a decade for his attack a year ago.
The source claimed that Apple had planned to pursue a multimillion-dollar campaign to bag its first headline Oscar Best Actor win for Smith’s powerful performance in the slave drama Emancipation.
Highly respected costume designer Deborah L. Scott expressed her support for Smith before collecting the Career Achievement Honor at the 25th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
Scott revealed how stars like Smith, who collaborated on Wild Wild West, forge strong working partnerships to structure their characters.
She confirmed that Hollywood had “put the controversy in the past,” adding of Smith: “He is an amazing picture of a person.
“We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. We all can change.
“Things can happen. And that is fine. Will is an incredible actor.
“Emancipation is a spectacular performance. A very well-directed movie, and Antoine Fuqua did an amazing job, and it got overlooked this year, which is sad,” Scott said.
She continued: “The wonderful thing about Will is that he has all this stature. Even in the days of Wild Wild West, he was a singer and had all this stuff going, but he would come in the fitting room and say: ‘I have no idea what I am until I put all your costumes on.’
“And that is gratifying. He is a very nice man that way, very grateful.”
Scott revealed on the red carpet that working with humble Smith has been one of many success stories during her fantastic career, which includes designing looks on flicks like Avatar: The Way of Water.
“I have dealt with so many brilliant actors from small to big, and the most important thing is to have respect for each other.
“And you are very lucky to get together in that fitting room and sometimes to invent the character right there. It is a mad bunch of paints.
“The conversation that goes in the fitting room is spectacular.”
On the evening of March 1, Smith – who is banned from the Oscars for a decade – returned to the awards season circuit to accept the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards in Los Angeles.
The speech marked the Oscar winner’s first in-person acceptance at an awards show since he slapped Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Smith told the audience: “Emancipation was the most individual difficult film of my entire career.”
He explained his experience filming the AppleTV+ movie, where he plays Peter, an enslaved man who manifests his own freedom.
He added: “I want to thank Apple because the budget was one thing. And then the budget was another thing. And then the budget was another thing.
“And Apple never flinched. It was the first time I had heard from a studio that the story was more important than how much it costs to get it done, so then we added some more stuff that we wanted. They make iPhones. They can do it.”
On Wednesday night, an Academy Award member revealed to The U.S. Sun that Smith “screwed himself out of a second Oscar nomination for sure” and a “damn good chance” of a double win.
The voter said: “Will’s performance is deserving of an Oscar.
“It was a supreme film and a powerful performance. There is no question had he not attacked Chris, [he] would have been a shoo-in for a Best Actor nomination.
“And to be honest, the way he campaigned last time, he would have certainly been a joint favorite alongside Brendan Fraser for taking home the statue.”
The voter added: “He could have won two years in a row had things gone his way.
“Certainly, the word was Apple expected to push a huge campaign out for Anthony and Will, which was aimed at bringing home their first Best Actor Oscar.
“They really felt they had screen magic, but the slap knocked everything off course.
“Apple executives must be disappointed because there it is clear that Smith’s actions cost them a real chance at a big win this year.
“There are very few who are not moved by the visual treat of the film, coupled with the astonishing emotion generated by Smith and the cast.
“The trouble is that his damaged image meant any hope of getting honored for an Oscar was out. Sadly this project was just set aside and not even considered. That is how huge the damage was.”
Scott was one of a raft of stars at the 25th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) at the Fairmont Century Plaza, which was produced by NVE Experience Agency and sponsored by Westfield Century City, Peris Costumes, Mercedes-Benz, and Campari.
Special honorees included Angela Bassett (Actress, Spotlight Award), Bette Midler (Actress, Distinguished Collaborator Award), Deborah L. Scott (Costume Designer, Career Achievement Award), and Rachael M. Stanley (Costume Designer, Distinguished Service Award).
Terry Gordon, president of the Costume Designers Guild IATSE Local 892, revealed the new official name of the statuette will now be called “The Adrian” – inspired by Guild founder Gilbert Adrian.