Will Smith had a riotous night at the Academy Awards in 2022. In King Richard, he earned his first Academy Award for his starring portrayal as Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams. Smith, on the other hand, spent the majority of his speech addressing an unscripted and disturbing incident earlier in the evening, when Smith stepped up on stage and smacked Chris Rock. Smith was offended by a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, made by the comedian. During his address, he said, “Love makes you do insane things.” He compared himself to Richard Williams and stated he was defending his family.
“I can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” he stated, referring to her shaved hairstyle, which is a result of the hair loss condition alopecia. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g lips,” Smith said as he walked on stage and struck Rock. He then returned to his seat and yelled.
He then expressed regret to the Academy. He also claimed he wanted to apologize to all of his fellow candidates in a sad acceptance speech for best actor. Rock received no particular apologies.
The actor won his first Academy Award for his role as the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. He stated, “Art imitates life. Like Richard Williams, I have the appearance of a mad father. Love, on the other hand, will drive you insane.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, issued a statement saying it “does not condone violence in any form.”
Rock’s joke was a reference to Demi Moore’s performance as the title character in the 1997 film GI Jane, in which she wore a buzzcut. Smith looked to chuckle and clap his hands before entering the stage and approaching Rock. Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at the remark, while Smith appeared to laugh and clap his hands before entering the stage and approaching Rock.
Smith rushed up to Rock and smacked him before returning to his seat with Jada and shouted profanities, eliciting awkward stillness and uncertainty in the Dolby Theatre.
Following the event, Rock presented the best documentary award, which was the reason he came on stage in the first place.