Will Smith quells 'Concussion' controversy at Film Awards

Will Smith arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Will Smith arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Will Smith isn’t expecting any pushback from the NFL over his upcoming football drama, “Concussion.”
“I don’t think it’s going to generate too much controversy (with the NFL). There will be a little difficulty in swallowing it, as it was for me. I’m a football dad, you know,” said the 47-year-old father of three.
Smith was honored Sunday at the Hollywood Film Awards for his work in “Concussion.” He plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who uncovered the dangerous effects of head trauma on the brain in football.
“You don’t want it to be true,” Smith said on the red carpet. “I think that the science is really irrefutable and the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu is such a powerful story. I think that it will be difficult at first for some, but I don’t think that it’s going to be that big of an issue. It’s something that we have to accept.”
“Concussion” made headlines after The New York Times reported the film was altered to placate the National Football League, a charge director that Peter Landesman and Sony have denied.
The Grammy-winning rapper, who recently appeared on the remix of Bomba Estereo’s song “Fiesta,” also discussed his return to music after a decade-long hiatus.
“It’s such a new exploration for me. The most fun that I have. There’s nothing that compares to being on the stage with a hit record. So you know I’ve been performing a little bit with (DJ Jazzy) Jeff. We’ve been sneaking out and going to places and working out a little bit. So I think it’s going to be magnificent.”
Another hot-button honoree Sunday was Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” Police associations have urged boycotts of Tarantino’s movies after the filmmaker said he was “on the side of the murdered” during a recent rally against police brutality in New York.
“We all have a tremendous respect for what police do every day, putting their lives on the line, OK? And I know Quentin feels that way too,” said Kurt Russell, who stars in Tarantino’s Western, out December.
“Now when it comes to his comments on policemen that’s his to comment on,” continued Russell. “You don’t have to agree every time with everybody to like working together.”
The awards show, which has raised eyebrows for giving honors to unreleased films, wasn’t televised this year after dismal ratings in 2014.
Still, honorees including Robert DeNiro, Benicio Del Toro, Jane Fonda and Amy Schumer turned out for the glitzy gala in Beverly Hills hosted by James Corden of “The Late Late Show.”
Carey Mulligan, who received an award for her historical drama “Suffragette,” hoped the attention will help at the box office.
“It’s an important film for people to see and to understand what women went through for us to have a vote,” she said. “All of this award stuff is very good because it means more people will go and see it.”
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