In one of the most shocking turns of events on stage, comedian-actor Chris Rock was left stunned at the 2022 Academy Awards after Will Smith came on onstage and slapped the comedian across the face. The incident occurred after Rock, who was introducing the award for Best Documentary, poked fun at Jada Pinkett Smith about her hairdo. For unversed, Pinkett is suffering from auto-immune disease alopecia which results in hair loss.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith slaps Chris Rock for distasteful joke made at Jada Pinkett Smith; apologises to The Academy in tear-filled Best Actor speech
Rock said, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya." While Smith laughed from his seat at first. Pinkett Smith was unamused and eye-rolled at the joke. Then, Smith took the stage and smacked Rock. "Oh wow," said Rock. "Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me."
"Keep my wife's name out your f---ing mouth!" Will Smith, seemingly angry yelled back at Rock from his seat. "Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," said Rock, to which Smith repeated again, "Keep my wife's name out your f---ing mouth!"
"I'm going to, okay?" Rock replied, before moving on, "That was the ... greatest night in the history of television" and continued to present the award.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
Will Smith, later in the night, won the Best Actor award for King Richard. Taking stage, he was overwhelmed. In the tear-filled speech, he said, "In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. ... I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people."
"I know to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse; you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you, and you gotta smile and pretend like that's okay," he said, before comparing himself to his character from King Richard, who was a "fierce defender of his family."
It was also reported by the press in the auditorium that after the altercation, Denzel Washington had gone to speak to Will Smith. In his speech, the actor said what Denzel told him, "at your highest moments, be careful because that's when the devil comes for you."
Addressing The Academy for the incident, he said, "I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees."
Smith then said, "Art imitates life: I look like the crazy father. Just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things." He later added, "Being able to love and care for my mother and my family, my wife ... Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this moment. ... I hope the Academy invites me back."
This marked Will Smith's first Oscar win and his third nomination. He was previously nominated for Best Actor in 2002 for Ali and in 2007 for The Pursuit of Happyness.
ALSO READ: Oscars 2022 Winners: Will Smith and Jessica Chastain win Best Actor and Actress awards, CODA bags Best Picture
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