The most dramatic Oscars of all time? The 94th Academy Awards are going to be making headlines long after the Sunday, March 27, broadcast.
From the top of the show, Will Smith and Jade Pinkett Smith were front and center at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. The King Richard star, who took home the Oscar for best actor, and the Girls Trip actress appeared to be in good spirits at the top of the show, not afraid to laugh when cohost Regina Hall poked fun about their past open marriage controversy.
Jokingly calling single men to the stage for COVID-19 tests, Hall quipped, “Will Smith, you’re married, but you’re on the list. Looks like Jada approved it!”
Toward the end of the show, however, the mood shifted when Chris Rock made a comment about Pinkett Smith’s appearance, joking that she is gearing up to star in G.I. Jane 2. While the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor appeared to laugh at the joke originally, the Red Table Talk host, who has alopecia, rolled her eyes. Smith subsequently stormed the stage and slapped Rock.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth,” he yelled at the comedian.
Social media was quick to react to the moment, with one meme of Nicole Kidman from the show going viral. While many users believe the photo of the shocked actress was taken when Smith hit Rock, it turns out the snap of the best actress nominee was taken before the show even started. Reuters photographers confirmed that Kidman was wearing her husband Keith Urban’s jacket at the time of the confrontation.
Rock has yet to publicly speak out after leaving the Oscars on Sunday, but a source confirmed to Us Weekly that the joke about Pinkett Smith wasn’t part of his rehearsal. Smith, meanwhile, broke down on stage as he accepted his trophy, comparing himself to Venus and Serena Williams’ father, whom he portrayed in King Richard.
“Art imitates life: I look like the crazy father. Just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things,” he said after apologizing to the Academy and his fellow nominees. “Thank you for this moment. And thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I hope the Academy invites me back.”
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ official Twitter account, meanwhile, issued a statement on Sunday: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
Smith later went to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party and was spotted dancing and singing with his trophy.
Scroll through for more behind-the-scenes photos from the Oscars: