At Sunday’s 94th Academy Awards, “King Richard” actor Will Smith pulled a stunt on comedian Chris Rock after the stand-up made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
He later apologized to the film academy and his fellow nominees as tears streamed down his face after accepting the best actor Oscar for “King Richard.” Rock, however, was not addressed and he tried to justify what he did.
As he was recognized for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis great Venus and Serena, Will Smith said, “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy dad, just like they said about him. But love will make you do crazy things.”
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The audience inside the Dolby Theatre was left stunned by the encounter between Will Smith and Rock.
As he handed over the Oscar for the best documentary, Rock said he was looking forward to seeing Pinkett Smith in “GI Jane 2.”
Pinkett Smith announced in 2018 that she suffered from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. In “G.I. Jane” (1997), Ridley Scott starred Demi Moore as a woman who joined the Navy and shaved her head during her military service.
Later, Smith hit Rock on the stage of the Dolby Theatre. There was a cut-out in the U.S. broadcast, but Will Smith was shouting, “KEEP my wife’s name out of your f—g mouth!”
Richard Williams’ fiery spirit was compared to this incident by Smith in the acceptance speech.
Will Smith, fighting back tears, described Williams as a fierce advocate for his family.
In “King Richard,” he got the chance to “protect” his co-stars.
As tears streamed down his face, he explained that he was being called on to love and protect people in his life.
The actor described the entertainment industry as one in which performers “take abuse” as they are “talked about crazy.”
Will Smith said that he wants to be a vessel of love.
As a result of the extraordinary moment, social media became abuzz with intense discussion. Several Twitter users commented that the producers of the show were odd for continuing with the show despite the incident.
Absolutely wild that we’re just going on with the rest of this show like everything is normal????
— Jessica Derschowitz (@jessicasara) March 28, 2022
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock in front of millions of people and we're just going to continue the show like nothing happened and hand out best song? #Oscars
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) March 28, 2022
During coverage of the ceremony, journalists reported that Smith’s publicist and Denzel Washington, as well as Tyler Perry, approached him after the incident.
Rock declined to file a police report after the show ended and the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed knowledge of the incident.
In a statement, LAPD said it is available to complete an investigation report at a later date if the involved party requests one.
Washington faced off against Javier Bardem (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick… Boom!”) and Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”) in the race for best actor.
In his portrayal of Richard Williams, Smith earned mostly positive reviews for his portrayal of a coach who helped his gifted daughters achieve greatness as well as a public relations specialist.
One of the biggest and highest-grossing Hollywood stars of the last 30 years celebrated a career milestone Sunday night.
He became a movie superstar in the 1990s with movie hits such as “Bad Boys,” “Independence Day,” and “Men in Black.” Smith started out as a hip-hop MC and star of the NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Will Smith has found success in blockbusters and in dramas that have won Oscars.
Five years later, for “The Pursuit of Happyness,” he lost to Forest Whitaker for “The Last King of Scotland.” He was nominated for “Ali” in 2002, the same year Denzel Washington became the second Black winner of the best actor award.