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How ‘King Richard’ star Aunjanue Ellis wants to honor her late mother with her Oscars dress


Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF

Aunjanue Ellis has a special request for whoever designs the dress she wears at her first-ever Academy Awards ceremony.

The King Richard actress, who’s nominated for best supporting actress, told Good Morning America Monday she wants to honor her late mother on Oscars night.

“Whoever I’m wearing, I’m just insisting that my mother’s name be somewhere on the dress,” Ellis, 53, said. “She left me a couple years ago and I want her with me that night in some sort of way.”

While Ellis is planning to honor her own mother, she might be winning an Oscar thanks to playing Oracene Price, the mother of Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

The film, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, is all about Richard Williams, the tennis stars’ father. Will Smith plays Richard in the movie, with Saniyya Sidney as Venus and Demi Singleton as Serena.

King Richard is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, best actor for Smith, best supporting actress for Ellis, best original screenplay, best film editing and best original song for “Be Alive,” by Beyoncé.

Ellis also told GMA the person she most wants to meet at the Oscars is Beyoncé — who, like Ellis, is also nominated for her first-ever Oscar this year.

“Putting it out to the universe,” Ellis said of wanting to run into the Grammy winner at the star-studded event. “Hear me, universe. It’s all I want.”

The 94th Academy Awards will air live Sunday, March 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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