The 94th annual Academy Awards, held on March 27th, 2022 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, is going to be considered one of the most iconic sights in the history of the Oscars, and one of the reasons is that Troy Kotsur won the award for Best Supporting Actor and became the second deaf actor to win an Oscar.
But one of the reasons to remember the 94th annual Academy Awards is the unexpected and unplanned altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock after the latter cracked a joke on Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith walked on stage to slap the comedian. Will returned to his seat and asked Chris Rock to stop talking about Jada.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, tweeted a few minutes later that the incident happened and that’s how we do it. Actor Alec Baldwin also shared a tweet in which he said that he is not reading much about how or even if the producers have reached out to Chris Rock to know how he was doing, before adding that he is extremely sorry that the Oscars turned into the Jerry Springer show and added that he loves him.
Jodie Turner-Smith said that she was still trying to process what had happened on the show and added that she had second-hand embarrassment for all involved. Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, stated that America is divided right now, but it was nice for everyone to come together and say "holy crap" at the same time. He later turned his comment in a different direction and, of course, he was talking about Questlove winning an Oscar for Best Documentary. (Chris Rock was on-stage to present the award for Best Documentary.)
The Late Late Show James Corden host also shared that the whole situation on stage had thrown him off in a huge way, adding that it had ruined his chances in the Oscar pool. Tennis star Serena Williams said that she just sat down because she was like, "I had to put that drink down." It should be noted that Will Smith portrayed Richard Williams (Serena and Venus Williams’ father) in King Richard and won his first Oscar for Best Actor. Serena deleted the story later.
There are going to be consequences, but Whoopi Goldberg said that she does not think that the Academy is going to take away his Oscar. Joy Behar said that the audience wants the comedians to be edgy, funny, and out there on stage to say what everyone’s thinking, but then when the comedian says it, the people get mad. For now, the show has to move on with love said Diddy who was on-stage presenting The Godfather Tribute, tried to calm both actors down and said that they were going to solve the issue like a family at the Gold Party.
Nicki Minaj also expressed her view and shared that even though she loves Chris Rock, she knows that if he had known about Jada’s health condition, he wouldn’t have made that joke, but she went on to question the Academy and asked that one of them would have heard Jada Pinkett Smith talk about her challenges with alopecia and should have informed Chris. She added that what Will Smith did is exactly what a real man would have done for the love of his life, especially after knowing that she was in pain. Cardi B shared a quote that Will Smith shared in the acceptance speech that Denzel Washington said to him, "At your highest moment... be careful. That's when the devil tries to come for you."
Maria Shriver said that the audience should never get to a place where they would witness a movie star hitting someone on live television and getting a standing ovation while he talks about love. Will Smith, in his acceptance speech, talked about being a vessel of love. Jimmy Kimmel went ahead to congratulate Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall for hosting the ceremony brilliantly and said that people should not let the unpleasantness overshadow the award ceremony that celebrates various artists for their art. He also broke down the entire incident during his monologue.
Tiffany Haddish took Will Smith’s side and said that Chris Rock was messy and she would have loved it if her husband had stood up for her the way Will Smith did for Jada. She added that what Will Smith did today is literally what every woman wants because Jada was hurt and Will decided to protect his wife, and that’s what a man is supposed to do. Richard Marx mentioned that he likes Oscar winners who do not slap comedians over a joke.
Jim Carrey also reacted to the incident and expressed that he was more sickened by the fact that the people in the audience decided to give Will Smith a standing ovation after his acceptance speech. And when Jim said that Hollywood is spineless en masse, the standing ovation showcased that they aren’t the cool club anymore. Jim Carrey said that Will Smith should have been escorted out of the show after he slapped Chris Rock and acknowledged that Chris Rock must have wanted to avoid the hassle and that’s why he decided not to press the charges. The actor went ahead and wished Will Smith the best and mentioned that it was not a good moment but a selfish one that overshadowed everyone’s shining moment.
Will Smith issued a statement where he publicly apologized to Chris Rock for his behavior and mentioned that it was not acceptable. He added that he understands that the jokes are a part of the job, but the joke that was made was about Jada’s medical condition and was too much for him to bear, and he went ahead to react emotionally.