The Oscars, Hollywood’s most glamourous evening returned last night. History was made, Beyonce performed, and Will Smith hit Chris Rock onstage over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. This year the Oscars had three hosts, Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes and despite giving awards to nominees prior to the telecast, the show still went on for more than three hours.
It was a big night for streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV which snagged multiple nominations. Apple TV’s “Coda” took home top honors for best picture. Ariana DeBose made history by becoming the first openly queer person of color to win an Oscar, taking home the statue for best-supporting actress for the film, West Side Story. Beyonce and her daughter, Blue performed the song from “King Richard” and was a stunning vision in yellow.
However, it was a joke that sent social media into a frenzy at the 2022 Oscar telecast. Comedian Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary when he joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head with a G.I. Jane reference. Pinkett-Smith looked visibly disturbed, and Will Smith walked up to the stage and hit the comedian before returning to his seat. “Will Smith just punched the S*%t out of me,” Chris Rock said as he gained his composure to announce the winner. “That’s right said Smith, “Keep my wife’s name out your F$%king mouth,” he continued.
The evening continued without further incident with Roots drummer, Questlove, taking home the Oscar for Summer of Soul. Will Smith later won the Oscar for his role in “King Richard” and attempted to address the incident saying, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.” He continued “Love will make you do crazy things.”
The incident sparked fierce debate and commentary at post-Oscar parties and on social media with many shocked by the incident and others saddened. The LAPD issued a statement saying they were “aware of an incident between two individuals at the Oscars” and that Chris Rock declined to press charges against Smith.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been subject to criticism recently for airing what many believe is their “family business” for public consumption. Pinkett-Smith suffers from Alopecia, a disease, in which the immune system destroys the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. Pinkett-Smith has been vocal about losing her hair and living with the disease saying she was terrified when she noticed “handfuls of hair” coming out of her scalp in the shower. On an episode of her show, “Red Table Talk” she said, “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear, that’s why I cut my hair and continued to cut it.”
Will Smith most recently in his book, “Will” spoke about the helplessness he felt being unable to protect his mother from domestic abuse. Some felt, that Will Smith, was protecting and defending his wife, obviously humiliated by the joke while others felt Will Smith went too far and assaulted a comedian live on television without suffering any consequences. Comedian Tiffany Haddish came to Smith’s defense saying at a post-Oscar party to PEOPLE magazine “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me,”
For all the #WillSmith defenders out there, there is NOTHING Chris Rock said which justifies assault and battery.
Smith could have "defended her honor" any myriad of ways other than that. If "being offended" justifies (in your mind) violence on a comedian, whoa Nellie.
— Mr. Mo'Kelly 🎙️📺 (@MrMokelly) March 28, 2022
Wayment did #Ali just punch #Pookie?? #TeamDl
— DL Hughley (@RealDLHughley) March 28, 2022
Its nice to have another example of a Black woman being defended by her partner in very public way. My running total is now 3.
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) March 28, 2022
Will Smith lives in Hollywood. He is from Philly.
Exhibit A: tonight at the Oscars.
— Demetria L. Lucas (@demetriallucas) March 28, 2022
Just catching up on this Will Smith/Chris Rock thing. I thought it was a joke until saw it. WOW.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) March 28, 2022
More people should be slapped in defence of Black women. Cry about it if you wanna
— Bolu Babalola (@BeeBabs) March 28, 2022
Chris Rock has not commented on the incident. This is not the first time Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have been targeted by Rock in his comedy sequences. He made fun of them when they chose to boycott the Oscars over their lack of diversity.
Other Oscar winners included:
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
“Drive My Car”
“The Queen of Basketball”
“Summer of Soul”
“No Time to Die”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Will Smith, “King Richard”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND
ANIMATED SHORT FILE
“The Windshield Wiper”
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“The Long Goodbye”
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye