Where there’s a Will Smith, there’s a way

Will Smith proves “awards and accolades” don’t define the actor

Willard Smith, known to most as Will Smith, is the definition of a true Hollywood actor. Born in West Philadelphia, Smith was determined to make it big in the entertainment industry.

He got his first big break when he scored the lead in the 90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The NBC series ran for six seasons, and chronicled the life of a street-smart teenage boy from West Philadelphia who moves in with his wealthy Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian.

Smith smoothly transitioned from a teenage star to a serious movie actor. Box office hits like “Independence Day” and “Men in Black” made his a household name. Since then, Smith has worked on honing his craft and skill until his work in “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” proved he could be more than just an action star.

In 2001, Smith’s role in “Ali” demonstrated his strengths as a dramatic actor. The film tells the story of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and captures his accomplishments in the sport as well as his conversion to Islam.

Additionally, the film illustrates the political and social movements occurring in the United States during the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Smith earned his first Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for this film, but did not walk away with a win.

“The Pursuit of Happyness” is another phenomenal film by Smith, and it is especially relevant to the millennial generation. The film is about working hard in a desperate attempt to achieve the American Dream.

It is a rags-to-riches story based on the life of Chris Gardner (played by Smith), a homeless man who eventually becomes a stockbroker for Gardner Rich & Co. Smith’s son Jaden played the role of Christopher Gardner, Jr. The film has all the ingredients of sorrow and success. Smith scored his second Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best actor, but, once again, he did not win. Despite this disappointment, however, Smith continues to break box office records.

So is Smith an underdog? Some may say so since he has been snubbed in the past, but the real question at heart is this: how crucial are awards and accolades to defining one’s success as an actor?

To an extent, they are important as they provide tangible proof of an actor’s talent and acceptance in the Hollywood community. However, some of the best actors and actresses have never won Academy Awards: Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Like these stars, Smith’s doesn’t need awards to prove his career is a success.

In an age when entertainers call themselves actors after appearing in one or two films, Smith is no amateur. Awards and recognitions, though coveted, are not essential indicators of a successful acting career. Smith, whose movies continuously top box office charts and win over viewers and critics, has already proven himself a star.


Published March 16, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau





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