Smith was not in attendance at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sunday to accept his award, so King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green spoke on his behalf.
"Will is gutted he couldn't be here this evening. This is a tremendous honor and I know he would be thanking you so much from the bottom of his heart. This is such a personal film for Will. From the moment he took this role he embodied Richard Williams. He would thank the Williams family. There is no film without them. It is a true honor to have shared their story," he said.
"Will was a fearless leader on set, a tremendous actor. He would thank the fellow actors in his category. You guys are tremendous. Thank you so much for this honor, for this award. Will we're bringing this home for you. When he put on those short shorts he was like Superman," Green concluded.
Chris Jackson/Getty BAFTA Awards
While Smith is nominated alongside Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth) at this year's upcoming Critics Choice Awards and Academy Awards, Washington, 67, couldn't be prouder of his longtime friend.
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"We've spent a lot of time together. So we've been talking, he's always been a mentor for me and he grabbed me and he said, 'This is your year,'" Smith told PEOPLE (the TV Show!)'s Kay Adams of Washington last month after winning outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role at the SAG Awards.
"He just hugged me and he said, 'I'm so happy for you. Just love who you're becoming,'" Smith added.
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"I am very honoured to be hosting the EE British Academy Film Awards in March, where Covid will no longer exist because it will clearly have been canceled by then. It's going to be so much fun!" the Pitch Perfect star, 42, began her caption on Instagram.
"I don't wanna put any pressure on this — I know I'm not going to be funny because I am no longer fat," she continued. "And besides, I'm not going to 'sweat-it' with nerves because I have a peculiar medical condition where I can't sweat ... or cause offense to people because of my adorable Australian accent."