Will Smith has come a long way since the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days. The rapper-turned-actor has been one of the most highest paid actors in Hollywood, and received acknowledgement from the likes of MTV, Teen’s Choice, BET, and the NAACP for his outstanding performances in films that grew near, and dear to our hearts. However, the critically acclaimed actor has been snubbed by the Oscars for over 20 years. Even Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his first Oscar last year for The Revenant.
The Source would like to celebrate Will’s birthday by listing 5 Oscar-worthy films he starred in:
1. Men in Black
This 1997 sci-fi film is about a secret organization called Men in Black who supervise extraterrestrial life forms who live on Earth and hide their existence from humans. The comic book adapted film grossed over $589.3 million worldwide against a $90 million budget, becoming the year’s third highest-grossing film. MIB received a nod for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score and Best Production Design, but took home the award for Best Make Up. Yet, no nod for Will although it requires a special type of skill to react with creatures that aren’t really there.
Will completely embodied the famed boxer, Muhammad Ali. This knockout biopic puts the biopics of today to shame. Will received a nod for Best Actor in this underrated film, but lost to Denzel Washington’s performance in Training Day. That one was a pretty tough call.
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
If you say you didn’t cry during this movie you’re lying. The blockbuster took us through an emotional journey of what defines happiness for different people. It was also a pleasure to watch a young Jaden Smith make his acting debut alongside his dad. While Will received yet another nod for Best Actor for this film, but lost to Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland.
4. I Am Legend
Based on a novel, Will played a lone survivor in a post-apocalyptic New York City. Development for this film began over ten years before it actually came into fruitition. There were various actors and directors attached to the project. But who else could make us get so emotional about a dying dog other than Will? But Will was snubbed for yet another Oscar.
5. Seven Pounds
Another underrated movie starring Will Smith. Seven Pounds is so important to the culture because it explores a taboo topic within the Black community: Depression. IRS agent Ben Thomas (Will Smith) suffered a great depression after killing seven people in a car accident because he was on his phone an ultimately committed suicide. The heavy hitting drama had a complex love story lying beneath it, that you were bound to leave the theater emotionally positive. However, it wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar.