Will Smith punches Chris Rock on Oscar podium and shocks live audience | Instagram

VideoBoth the audience and the millions of audience who watched the 94th Oscar ceremony live were convinced that it was an act. But it turned out to be anything but rehearsed: an insulted and furious Will Smith rushed onto the stage, punched presenter Chris Rock and yelled that he shouldn’t think of using his wife’s name one more time. Smith was awarded Best Actor shortly afterwards for his role in King Richard


Gudo Tienhooven


Latest update:
28-03-22, 17:48

Comedian Chris Rock had incurred Smith’s wrath when he joked about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He said that next time she could take on the part of GI Jane (a film where Demi Moore plays a soldier with that nickname with cropped hair) (because of her bald head). Smith then got up from his chair, walked almost coolly towards Rock and punched him in the face. Once back in place, a swear cannonade started. Jada Pinkett Smith (50) suffers from alopecia, a condition in which someone suddenly experiences severe hair loss.

Actor Will Smith (right) slaps Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. © AFP

Those present in the room did not seem to know what to do with the incident. There was a lot of laughter at first, but when it dawned on everyone that it was not a joke but serious, it became icy silence under the world stars in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Photos of several stars in shock at the moment it happened quickly circulated on social media. Chris Rock also visibly recovered after Smith’s tirade, saying: “That was uhh… the best night in television history.”

Actors Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry took care of Smith during one of the show’s commercial breaks, TMZ writes

Excuses

After Smith himself was called up again to receive the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard (about the childhood of tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams), he apologized to the Academy about the collision. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Art imitates life, I now look like a crazy father too, just like Richard Williams said,” the actor said. “Love makes you do crazy things. I am deeply overwhelmed at this point in my life. And because of the things that God wants me to do in the world right now. I am called to love and protect people.” Chris Rock received no apology.

Smith looked back on his long career in the film business. “If you do what we do, you have to accept that people sometimes abuse you. Then you have to accept that people are disrespectful. And then you have to laugh and pretend that everything is okay.” The Oscar show then lasted another half hour, there were still some memorable moments such as a Pulp Fiction-reunion and legend Liza Minnelli die code voted it the best film of the year, but the depressed atmosphere was still palpable.

Will Smith in tears at the Oscars.  He won the statuette for his role in King Richard.
Will Smith in tears at the Oscars. He won the statuette for his role in King Richard. © AFP

The moment shocked not only the Oscar audience in attendance, but also the viewers at home. Reactions are divided on social media. Many people support Smith and call Chris Rock’s joke ‘inappropriate’, but an equally large group condemns the new Oscar winner for using violence.

Meanwhile, according to the trade journal, the Los Angeles police have variety let them know that Rock does not want to press charges against Smith and that they are letting the matter rest. “If he still wants to report it at a later time, we are ready to investigate the incident.”

The Academy said in a statement that it “does not condone any form of violence.” “Tonight we’re excited to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie buffs around the world.”

Dune most prizes

Until then, the award ceremony had gone fairly smoothly, with the science fiction epic dune as the big winner. The film by director Denis Villeneuve won the statuettes for best music (the famous composer Hans Zimmer was not present, because he gave a concert in Amsterdam), best sound, editing, production design, visual effects and camera work. The film was nominated in ten categories. Just the Netflix drama The Power of the Dog from director Jane Campion received more nominations: twelve in total. The western with Benedict Cumberbatch ultimately won only one statuette, the one for best director (Jane Campion).

The award for Best Supporting Actress went to Ariana DeBose. In the remake of the West Side Story she plays Anita, a young Puerto Rican woman who believes in the American dream. DeBose was by far the favorite in this category. She was previously awarded a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA for the same role. The 31-year-old actress is the first openly lesbian woman of color to win an Oscar. Also special is that Rita Moreno, the actress who appeared in the original version of West Side Story played the role of Anita, which also won an Oscar in 1962.

Ariana DeBose.
Ariana DeBose. © Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

First Oscar for Deaf Actor

codeActor Troy Kotsur won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The 53-year-old actor was the first deaf man to win an Oscar. In the women’s category, his colleague Marlee Matlin preceded him in 1987. codewhich stands for Child Of Deaf Adult (a child of deaf parents) is about teenage Ruby, the only hearing person in a fishing family, who dreams of a singing career. Kotsur plays her father Frank in the film. The feel-good production (shown on Apple TV+) also won for Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

On stage, Kotsur dedicated his Oscar to ‘the deaf community, the codecommunity and the community of people with disabilities’. He also thanked his director Sian Heder. “You brought the deaf world and the hearing world together,” he said of the filmmaker. “You were a bridge in that. And from now on it will always be called the Sian Heder Bridge here in Hollywood.”

Jessica Chastain won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In The Eyes of Tammy FayeBased on a true story, she plays a TV evangelist who watches her media empire collapse. The three-hour Drive My Car from Japan was awarded the prize for the best international film.

Troy Kotsur.
Troy Kotsur. © ANP / EPA

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