AceShowbiz - Will Smith grabbed the spotlight at the 2022 Academy Awards, but not for the reason that most people have expected. The actor, who is nominated for Best Actor, stunned everyone after slapping Chris Rock during the live telecast.
At the Sunday night, March 27 ceremony, Rock was on hand as presenter for Best Documentary Feature. He began making a few jokes about the audience, before nodding to Jada Pinkett Smith and saying, "Looking forward to 'G.I. Jane 2'," joking about her closely cropped hair.
Smith was then seen standing up from his seat and walking to the stage. He slapped Rock across the face and returned to his seat. "Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me," the "Saturday Night Live" alum said, looking flabbergasted.
Meanwhile, Smith was heard mouthing, "Keep my wife's name out of your f**king mouth" from his seat. "Wow, dude," replied Rock, "It was a 'G.I. Jane' joke." Smith reiterated, "Keep my wife's name out of your f**king mouth."
"Okay. That was the greatest night in the history of television," Rock retorted, before he was back presenting the Best Documentary award, which went to "Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)".
When Sean "P. Diddy" Combs was up next to introduce a clip montage celebrating the 50th anniversary of "The Godfather", he said, "I didn't know that this year was going to be the most exciting Oscars ever!" He then briefly addressed the awkward confrontation, "Okay, Will, Chris-we're going to solve that like family. But right now, we're moving on with love."
Meanwhile, backstage Questlove, who just accepted the Best Documentary Feature award, declined to answer questions about the altercation.
During commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya came up to hug Smith and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage and comforted him. Tyler Perry came over to talk as well. Smith then appeared to wipe tears off his face.
Over on Twitter, people started chatting about the confrontation. "That was real. That really looked real," one person remarked, while another begged to differ, "It's staged. If this is real then Chris rock really lives up to his last name cuz he ain't."
Believing that it was real, someone slammed Smith for reinforcing the violent stereotypes of black people, writing, "Will Smith just let down millions of people: Sadly, he reinforced the negative violebt (sic) stereotypes that have afflicted people of color for ages."
Others defended Smith, with one saying, "lol not you thinking Chris Rock would take Will Smith to court. It was a whole a** slap. Chris rock even smiled because he knew he deserved that s**t. I swear you guys allow people to disrespect others loved ones and not expect a beat down." Another tweeted, "He did what he was supposed to do to defend his wife."