It was the Oscars’ biggest surprise.
The most talked-about incident of the 94th Academy Awards was when best actor winner Will Smith smacked presenter Chris Rock onstage after taking offense to his joke.
Comedian Chris Rock took the stage at one point to give a few jokes.
He began by discussing Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, and then moved on to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock had joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, as being ready for “GI Jane 2” – seemingly a reference to her shaved head. (Pinkett-Smith has previously stated that she suffers from alopecia, or hair loss.)
Everything looked to be going smoothly until the cameras caught a glimpse of Will Smith approaching Rock on the stage.
Smith then stepped up to the platform, slapped Rock, and sat down again before saying twice, “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Rock, like the rest of us, was taken aback and tried to persuade Will to relax, but Smith was having none of it.
“It was just a G.I. Jane joke man,” Rock replied. Will, on the other hand, kept saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” What they saw at the Dolby Theatre stunned the entire audience. After Rock took the stage to give the award, the entire crowd began to discuss what had just occurred.
The first instinct was to wonder if it was staged, but the moment appeared to be genuine. Rock was taken aback, Will Smith was enraged, and Jada Pinkett Smith was visibly offended by the joke’s punchline. But there has to be more to what transpired in one of the most bizarre Oscar moments ever.
Following the incident, Smith won best actor for “King Richard” and gave a tearful victory speech in which he apologized. “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.”
He never mentioned an apology to chris Chris Rock in his apology.
Of course, reactions on social media ranged from joy to concern. Some, including Smith’s 23-year-old son Jaden Smith, who wrote on Twitter minutes after the event, “And That’s How We Do It,” expressed their support.