EXCLUSIVE: Aunjanue Williams makes heartfelt career confession ahead of Oscars

The star revealed her connection to Oracene Williams

Aunjanue Ellis is opening up about her career and her experience working on the Richard Williams biopic, King Richard.

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Aunjanue plays Oracene "Brandi" Williams, Venus and Serena William's mother, alongside Will Smith, who plays their father. The film depicts his fight to make them the iconic athletes they are today.

Both Will and Aunjanue have had a busy award season, as they get nominated multiple times over for their roles, and the movie itself anticipates a potential Oscar win for Best Picture.

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WATCH: The trailer for King Richard

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The actress most recently celebrated her nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards, and she continued to celebrate her performance at Tuesday's National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in New York City, where she won the award for Best Supporting Actress.

Aunjanue Ellis has shared the “connection” she feels to Oracene, speaking to HELLO on the red carpet of the gala.

She shared how she could relate to the "quiet role" held by Oracene for so many years, as Will had previosuly described it.

She explained that: "Oracene was doing work for a long time and nobody knew about it, and a lot of people still don't know about it so I understand that."


Aunjanue and Will at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala

She opened up about how she feels similarly when it comes to her career and sees herself in the Williams matriarch, admitting that: "I've done work for a long time without people knowing my worth, so I feel a real connection with her."

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In his speech upon winning Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards, Will recognized how he couldn't have done his role in King Richard without Aunjanue by his side. 


Demi Singleton, Serena Williams, Will, Venus Williams, Saniyya Sidney, and Aunjanue

He said to the Williams sisters: "Your father didn't do it alone, so it would be disingenuous for me to accept this role without acknowledging Aunjanue Ellis." 

Of Oracene, he said that she: "For a lot of years took a really quiet role, and I love that we were able to show what your mother did."

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