Oscars 2022 Gala, will be a night that created history. Actor Will Smith barged entered the stage and smashed comedian Chris Rock across the face for joking about his wife, in a moment at Sunday's gala. The incident that went viral within seconds left viewers questioning if it was something out of a rehearsed script or had happened genuinely.
Chris Rock was present on stage to announce the best documentary prize along with a short comedy routine. Chris cracked a joke comparing Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore's appearance in the film "G.I. Jane" indicating that her’s was a sequel appearance. The same did not go well with Will Smith. What followed therein after created history.
Smith strode up to Rock and slapped him, before returning to his seat alongside Jada and shouting vehemently. . "Keep my wife's name out of your f*****g mouth," yelled Smith, forcing the producers to bleep out several seconds of audio from the live television broadcast in the United States.
Jada Pinkett Smith, who is also an actress, suffers from alopecia, and publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2018. She has since then been working closely to uplift women who are struggling with similar diagnosis. 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.
This was followed by the next section being presented by Sean "Diddy" Combs who started off by saying, "Will and Chris, we're going to solve that like family. Right now we're moving on with love,” Now that must have taken a lot of courage.
Later that evening, Will Smith during his speech after accepting his award, got overwhelmed. Though he did not directly apologise to Rock, few of his statements from the night went like this,
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying for winning an award. It's not about winning an award for me. It's about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”
“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things.”
Will Smith said, “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 got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that's okay.”
Will Smith also revealed how his friend and fellow Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington told him in the commercial break after the altercation with Chris Rock that it is in these moments of Glory that he needs to control himself.
“Thank you, Dee. Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you,'” Will Smith said.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which handed out awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles has strict guidelines in its code of conduct.
Some Hollywood actors were stated saying “It’s basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room, it was so uncomfortable.”
Meanwhile, the Academy cryptically announced from its official twitter handle:
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
The Los Angeles Police Department stated that it is aware of the incident. It further stated:
“LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards Program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires to file a police report , at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”