Apple TV Plus hit Emancipation puts Will Smith back on the awards stage for the first time since that Oscars slap

Emancipation — Official Trailer | Apple TV+
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The hit Apple TV Plus movie Emancipation has picked up the Beacon award at this year's African American Film Critics Associated Awards.

The win saw star Will Smith return to the awards stage for the first time since he famously slapped Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars. The slap was heard around the world and reportedly caused Emancipation's release to be delayed.

Smith accepted the award alongside the movie's director Antoine Fuqua.

A slap in the face for the competition

The Beacon Award "is intended to highlight films that are tackling challenging subjects with insight, enlightening, as well as engaging the audience,” THR reports Fuqua as opening his acceptance speech by saying. “It was our hope that Emancipation, that it would be able to bring Peter’s triumphant story and unwavering faith and his deep love for his family to life.” 

Emancipation tells the story of Peter, a slave who flees a plantation in Louisiana and has to go on the run from those hunting him. The movie is based on a true story.

As for the movie recreation, Smith was keen to thank Apple TV Plus for making it possible — and offering to spend whatever it took to make it happen.

"I want to thank Apple because the budget was one thing,” he said. “And then the budget was another thing. And then the budget was another thing. And Apple never flinched" Smith went on to say that Emancipation was the first time that he'd worked with a studio that believed the story was more important than how much money it would cost to tell.

Emancipation is available to stream on Apple TV Plus now. The streaming service can be watched on just about anything that has an internet connection, including the best Apple TV that the company has ever made — the Apple TV 4K. Less costly options also work, like the Fire TV stick, while your smart TV and games console likely also has an Apple TV app available as well.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.