Much like previous Oscars which were defined by their viral moments – think back to Ellen DeGeneres’ group selfie in 2014 or the best picture winner mix-up in 2017 – this year’s ceremony will now forever be the Oscars where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.
While presenting the award for Best Documentary, comedian Rock poked fun at Smith’s wife. “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” he said, referring to the 1997 film GI Jane in which Demi Moore played the title role with a buzzcut.
The ill-advised joke referenced Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head which she has as a result of hair loss condition alopecia. The actress spoke openly about her struggles with the autoimmune disorder in an episode of her Facebook chat show Red Table Talk in 2018. “I’ve been having issues with hair loss. And it was terrifying when it first started.”
The unsavoury quip was not taken well by Smith, who trespassed onto the stage and struck Rock. While many thought the incident was a pre-planned routine, especially considering the two are veterans of film and television, it was soon apparent that this was no sketch. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth,” Smith shouted while storming back off the stage, with Nicole Kidman’s animated reaction been heralded as “all of us at that moment” by one Twitter user.
Later on in the evening, Smith won the Best Actor award for his role playing the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, where he tearfully acknowledged the exchange in his acceptance speech. “Art imitates life,” he said. “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.” He then went on to apologise to all his fellow nominees, the Academy, but noticeably, not Rock.
It’s not the first time Rock has aggravated Smith. In 2016 while hosting the Oscars, Rock made a jibe at Pinkett Smith, saying: “Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties – I wasn’t invited!” He also mocked Smith for failing to receive a nomination for the film Concussion that year. “You get mad,” Rock continued. “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20m for Wild Wild West.”
Following the dig, TMZ had approached Smith for comment but he refused to answer. Pinkett Smith on the other hand seemed more relaxed and told paparazzi a few days later that “it comes with the territory.”
Nonetheless, Rock continued to stir things up in 2018 when he made pointed remarks about Smith’s relationship with his ex-wife.
“Happy Bday, @shereezampino. #BestBabyMamaEver! 🙂 I Love You, Ree-Ree,” Smith wrote alongside a photo of actress-turned-reality TV star Sheree Zampino and their son Trey Smith. Rock then commented: “Wow. You have a very understanding wife.”
After last night’s display, the dispute between the two men appears to have come to crescendo. However, with Rock refusing to press charges, as per a Los Angeles Police Department report, hopefully the duo can settle their differences and finally put their feud to rest.
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- 2 US-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-OSCARS-RED CARPET
- 3 94th Annual Academy Awards – Arrivals
- 4 Academy Awards – Will Smith smacks Chris Rock
- 5 94th Annual Academy Awards – Show
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- 14 Jada Pinkett Smith,Will Smith
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