MANILA, Philippines (Updated 1:40 p.m.) — Will Smith accepted the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “King Richard” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27.
“Love will make you do crazy things,” he said in his acceptance speech, seemingly alluding to what he did moments before he was proclaimed the winner.
Earlier in the ceremonies, Will appeared onstage to slap Chris Rock on the face over an on-stage joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance, a moment at Sunday’s gala that immediately went viral and left stunned viewers questioning if it had been scripted or genuine.
The altercation happened live on stage during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, which is currently taking place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles on Sunday night, Los Angeles time (March 27).
Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada being in “G.I. Jane” because of her bald head.
She’s spoken openly about having a hair loss condition.
Will Smith ran on stage, and slapped Chris Rock.
— Benji (@Cule_Ben) March 28, 2022
Chris was on stage to present the award for Best Documentary, when he made a joke about the appearance of Jada, Will’s wife.
Jada annnounced last year that she shaved her head over her struggles with an illness called Alopecia, a condition causing hair loss. She publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2018.
During his bit, the comedian gestured to her and quipped, “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” which was an apparent reference to the actress’ bald head. This joke appeared to instigate Will’s outburst.
During the joke, Pinkett Smith could be seen in the audience with her husband, rolling her eyes at the comment.
In a moment that triggered awkward silence and confusion in the Dolby Theatre, Smith strode up to Rock and hit him.
After swinging a punch on Chris’ face, Will went back to his seat, and was seen yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!”
These forced the producers to bleep out several seconds of audio from the televised broadcast in the United States.
A shocked Chris commented on stage, “That was the greatest night in the history of television!”
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, in attendance, a tearful Smith needed to be “pulled aside and comforted” by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry during a commercial break.
“Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family. Right now we’re moving on with love,” said Sean “Diddy” Combs, presenting the next section.
When Will returned to the stage to accept his award, a tearful Smith lamented “people disrespecting you” in Hollywood, and apologized to the Academy “and all my fellow nominees.”
Smith, who plays the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams in “King Richard,” added: “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”
Will and Jada have been married since 1997, and have been making headlines recently due to their reportedly “open marriage” which they’ve been sharing on Jada’s online talk show “Red Table Talk” on Facebook Watch. — With reports from Agence France-Presse