Los Angeles: The 94th Academy Awards were all but hijacked by Will Smith who, shortly before he won the Oscar for Best Actor, punched and swore at presenter Chris Rock who made a joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett.
Will Smith stormed the Oscars stage and punched comedian Chris Rock in the face for making a joke about his wife, in a moment that went viral and left astonished spectators wondering whether it was staged or genuine.
Rock had cracked a joke comparing Jada Pinkett Smith’s sharply cropped hair to Demi Moore’s appearance in the film “G.I. Jane” and recommending she star in a sequel when presenting the best documentary prize with a short comedy performance.
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.
Smith exclaimed, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth!” The producers were forced to bleep off several seconds of audio from the aired broadcast in the United States.
In his emotional speech soon after winning Oscar best actor award for his movie ‘King Richard’, a tearful Will Smith apologised – although not directly to Chris Rock. “”I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people,” he said, “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things.”
In a loaded speech, Will Smith said, “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”
Will Smith also revealed what fellow Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington told him in the commercial break after the altercation with Chris Rock. “”Thank you, Dee. Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you,'” Will Smith said.
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