The superstar Formerly Known as the Fresh Prince has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and one Screen Actors Guild Award, and has won four Grammys (out of eight nominations). Yet a Primetime Emmy nomination has so far eluded Smith.
That’s despite Smith’s long-running stint as the star of the hit 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Smith’s other TV credits include executive producing UPN’s “All of Us.” But neither of those even got him a primetime nod. Smith technically was nominated in 1992 for a Daytime Emmy Award, in the outstanding special class program category for his part in the special “NBA All-Star Stay in School Jam,” but that’s it.
One explanation is obvious: After “Fresh Prince,” Smith mostly turned his attention to film. His Oscar noms came in 2002, for “Ali,” and 2007, for “The Pursuit of Happyness,” both in the lead actor category.
Smith, however, has recently branched out into the online world, and YouTube is hoping that a viral stunt performed by the rapper-turned-actor will finally get him some Emmy attention.
YouTube is submitting “Will Smith: The Jump” in the outstanding short form nonfiction or reality series category. Originally billed by YouTube as a special, the streaming platform is repackaging it as a series to make it eligible for Emmy consideration. “The Jump” featured Smith as he bungee jumped out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon to mark his 50th birthday.
The specific video of Smith’s jump on Sept. 25 now boasts nearly 20 million views — including more than 17.5 million that came within the first 48 hours. Smith also used the livestream to raise awareness and solicit donations for international advocacy group Global Citizens and its education campaigns. The stunt came about after YouTube creators Yes Theory challenged Smith to bungee jump from a helicopter.
According to YouTube, “Will Smith: The Jump” is eligible for the short-form series Emmy nomination because it was cut up into eight episodes, ranging from two minutes and 36 seconds to 24 minutes and 16 seconds. Here’s how YouTube says the show now breaks down:
Episode 1: Why I’m Jumping into the Grand Canyon (Total Run Time: 7:38)
Episode 2: My First Time Bungee Jumping (TRT: 4:04)
Episode 3: The Jump (TRT: 8:35)
Episode 4: Will Smith Reacts to Celebrity Birthday Wishes (TRT: 2:36)
Episode 5: Will Smith Reacts to his 50th Birthday Bungee Jump (TRT: 4:31)
Episode 7: Will Smith’s Terrifying POV of the Helicopter Bungee Jump (TRT: 4:18)
Episode 8: My Family Thought I Was Crazy (TRT: 24:16)
Smith is also an executive producer on YouTube’s “Cobra Kai” Season 2, which is submitting in the outstanding comedy series category. Other submissions for that show include lead actor in a comedy (Ralph Macchio and William Zabka), supporting actor in a comedy (Martin Kove) and writing for a comedy (creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg).
YouTube will also be submitting “Step Up: High Water” in outstanding choreography for scripted programming. “Impulse” will be submitted in drama series categories including outstanding drama, lead actress (Maddie Hasson), supporting actor (David James Elliott) and supporting actress (Missi Pyle).
“Wayne” submissions include comedy series, lead comedy actor (Mark McKenna), supporting comedy actress (Ciara Bravo), supporting comedy actor (Mike O’Malley, Dean Winters) and guest comedy actress (Michaela Watkins, Abigail Spencer). Charlie Sanders and Jordan Peele’s “Weird City” will submit for best comedy, as well as supporting comedy actor (LeVar Burton), guest comedy actor (Ed O’Neill, Michael Cera, Dylan O’Brien) and guest comedy actress (Awkwafina, Laverne Cox, Yvette Nicole Brown). And unscripted show “Best Shot” will be submitted for reality directing.
Smith, meanwhile, will have some competition in the short form nonfiction or reality series category from another YouTube entry: Kevin Hart. The comedian’s series “Kevin Hart: What the Fit” is also being submitted in the category.