At the 2022 Critics Choice Awards, director Jane Campion took a slightly different approach to her acceptance speech for her Best Director award and brought tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams along for the ride.
According to BBC, the director drew heavy criticism at the Sunday ceremony (Mar. 13) after she made a joke about getting tennis lessons from the Williams sisters, who attend the event to support the film King Richard, based on their father and former coach.
“Venus and Serena, you're such marvels,” Campion said during her speech. “However, you don't play against the guys like I have to.”
Following her speech, several viewers of the ceremony headed to Twitter to respond to the rather odd and distant comparison including author, lawyer and activist, Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu.
“White women centering [sic] themselves over Black women is so normalised,” she wrote. “Jane Campion served Serena and Venus a backhand with her full chest.”
There hasn’t been official comment from either Venus or Serena, their reactions in the crowd also went viral. Venus appeared to be a bit confused while Serena clapped and smiled.
In other award ceremony news, Black actors and filmmakers won big at the 75th British Academy of Film Awards, which took place the same day as the Critics Choice Awards.
Will Smith won in the Lead Actor category for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstar sisters Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.
Ariana DeBose was named Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s musical West Side Story. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won in the Best Documentary category for Summer of Soul.
Cherish Oteka won the award for best British Short Film The Black Cop.
Jeymes Samuel took how the award for Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer for the Netflix film The Harder They Fall.
Lashana Lynch snagged the EE Rising Star award for her role as MI6 agent Nomi in No Time To Die.
Campion’s film The Power of the Dog also won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA and Directors Guild Awards over the weekend.