Another Take on Saturday Night’s Affair

When Will Smith strolled across the stage to
take his seat for the Film Festival’s Day Three Event — the
Modern Master Award Tribute — he was bubbling
with energy, and quickly got the crowd on board, earning laughs as
he pointed down to the piece of paper stuck to his shoe, which
read, “Reserved for Friends of Will Smith.”

No sooner had he taken his seat across from emcee
Leonard Maltin than his wife, Jada Pinkett
, appeared onstage, running up to remove the scrap
that still dangled from his very large shoe. It was a
classic husband and wife moment, which was totally
appropriate, as, throughout the course of the interview, it became
clear that husband and father are the roles Smith cherishes

He was wildly animted, charming, and articulate, and more than
willing to get deep, saying, more than once, that he wakes up every
day and thinks, “What can I do to make the world better today?” The
artist formerly known as the Fresh Prince was
totally inspiring in a non-preachy sort of way, but also not above
going for the easy laugh, getting fresh with Maltin while
demonstrating what it’s like acting in a special effect-heavy flick
by turning to the plant behind him, and saying, “Okay, Leonard,
this is you,” and proceeding to give the plant gaga eyes while
stroking it ever so gently.

Chris Gardner, upon whose life Smith’s
Oscar-nominated performance in The Pursuit of Happyness is
based, introduced Smith, and quintessential movie star/couch-jumper
Tom Cruise presented him with the award, and it
was clear that both men have tons of respect for the guy
that taught the world how to get jiggy with it

We left feeling motivated to go out and make the world a better
place, but first, we had a party to hit. And what a party it was.
Hundreds of filmies stormed the Biltmore Hotel in
, wandering from room to room, reveling in the
decadence. Go-go girls danced on platforms in gauzy cages, and men
ogled them from the dance floor. The cocktails were flowing, the
spread was fantastic, and the VIPs were cordoned off by a young man
who took his job very seriously (i.e. “No Press, sorry”).

This, of course, didn’t stop us from trying to gain entree, but
that velvet rope was really a non-issue, as star-gazing was fairly
easy to come by. Chris Gardner on the dance floor,
Christopher Lloyd in line waiting for a drink,
Ron Livingston in the hall. It was an over-the-top
evening celebrating a truly down-to-earth talent, and for a moment
there, soaking up the scene while sucking down a raspberry-stuffed
chocolate bomb, the world really was a better place.


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