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Will Smith defends Janet Hubert after she slams him over Oscars beef

Will Smith called Janet Hubert brilliant in a new interview.
Will Smith called Janet Hubert brilliant in a new interview. (AP)

Though South Side native Janet Hubert recently slammed her former "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" co-star Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith over the Oscars diversity controversy, Smith called Hubert a brilliant artist in a new interview.

Hubert, who also lived in Momence, played Smith's Aunt Vivian Banks on the sitcom from 1990-93 before she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Hubert last month criticized the Smiths after Pinkett Smith announced she planned to boycott the Academy Awards because of lack of diversity among the nominees.

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But Smith, who wasn't nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Concussion," didn't appear to hold a grudge with Hubert in an interview Monday with BBC Radio.

"I think that both of the Aunt Vivs were really, really fantastic," Smith, 47, said when asked which actress was best in the role. "I think when you make a show, anytime you make a change, it's going to be excruciating and painful. I think that Janet Hubert Whitten brought a really powerful dignity to the show."

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"I think she's brilliant," continued Smith. "I think as an artist, there's so many things that she does: She sings, she dances, she's like a really powerful artist. So I loved what she brought to 'The Fresh Prince.'"

The Academy Awards are scheduled to air 6 p.m. Feb. 28 on ABC.

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