Oscars 2022 highlights: the awards, the speeches, the hit seen around the world
In a seemingly unscripted moment that stunned viewers and audience members alike, Will Smith took to the stage and punched Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about the actor’s wife while presenting the award for best documentary at the Oscars.
Rock joked that Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, was in “GI Jane 2,” apparently a reference to her short hair. Pinkett Smith said she suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
Smith yelled and cursed at Rock after returning to his seat, demanding that Rock not talk about his wife.
During the heated exchange, the telecast fell silent on many screens, leaving confusion about what happened and what was said.
Rock, a presenter on the show, had cracked jokes during a mini-monologue when he met actors and their wives.
“Javier Bardem and his wife are both nominated,” Rock said. “Now if she loses, he can’t win.”
“He’s praying for Will Smith to win, like, please, lord,” Rock continued. “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’ can’t wait to see it, okay?”
The camera pans to Smith, who initially appears to be smiling. But the joke got a lukewarm reception, prompting Rock to add, “That was fun!”
Jada Pinkett Smith immediately rolled her eyes at the joke. Pinkett Smith has been open about her alopecia, posting a video on Instagram last year to explain how the hair loss progressed. She first shared the diagnosis in 2018 on an episode of her talk show, when she said she decided to cut her hair short after handfuls came out of it in the shower.
On Sunday, after Rock spoke, her husband quickly left his seat. Smith walked down the track to the stage.
“Oh-oh,” Rock said. Smith walked over and punched Rock; the impact could be heard through his microphone.
Uncensored broadcasts from the telecast outside the United States showed that after being punched, Rock, trying to keep the mood light, admitted that Smith had “punched” him, using an expletive to describe how point he had been hit.
Back in his seat, Smith told Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Rock replied, “Wow man, that was a ‘GI Jane’ joke.”
Smith then reiterated his request.
Looking shocked, Rock said, “It was the greatest night in television history,” then awarded the Oscar for Documentary Feature to “Summer of Soul.”
A little after, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar and he gave an emotional speech in which he said: “I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all of my fellow nominees.
At the end of his speech, Will Smith added: “Thank you. I hope the Academy will invite me again.
The Academy later published a statement on Twitter which did not mention Smith or Rock, but said “The Academy does not condone any form of violence.”
In a statement after the evening’s telecast ended, the Los Angeles Police Department said it was aware of what it said was an incident involving “one individual slapping another” at the Oscars. Police said the person involved “refused to file a police report”.
“If the party involved wants a police report at a later date,” police said, they will go ahead and “fill out an investigation report.”