Ever since he first cemented himself as a megastar in waiting in the summer of 1995, when Michael Bay’s Bad Boys hit theaters while The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was still airing, Will Smith hasn’t really stretched his dramatic muscles anywhere near as often as many of his contemporaries.
It’s tended to be a double-edged sword when he does, though, with Academy Award-nominated performances in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness being offset by cloying, self-serious duds like Seven Pounds and Collateral Beauty, but he’s been the front-runner to land Best Actor at virtually every major awards ceremony since King Richard first screened for critics.
True to form, Smith landed the Best Actor – Drama prize last night, and fans were thrilled to see the A-lister score the recognition he deserved for a truly phenomenal turn.
Having gone empty-handed five times in the past after landing two Golden Globe nods for The Fresh Prince, and one apiece for Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Concussion, the sixth time marked the charm for Smith. The longtime action hero turns 54 years old this summer, so we could be witnessing a more permanent shift into prestige fare now that he’s set to dominate the circuit and go home with a slew of trophies under his arm.