The 2022 Academy Awards took place March 27 and the top movie stars of the world came together to celebrate the year’s best in film. the real stars of the show ended up being Will Smith and Chris Rock.
Will Smith smacked Chris Rock in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
I think Will Smith could’ve done, quite literally, anything else but smack Chris Rock on live television.
For context, the smack occurred while Rock was cracking jokes during his announcement for the Oscar for Documentary Feature. Rock said he was excited for Jada Pinkett-Smith to appear in “G.I. Jane 2,” the joke being a dig at her shaved head. After, Will Smith got up out of his seat, walked onto the stage and smacked Rock in the face. Domestic broadcasting channels muted the audio after the smack, but international watchers and lip readers witnessed Smith yell further at Rock after he sat down.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—- mouth,” Smith yelled.
This event was truly the only reason I knew the Academy Awards happened, with “WAS THAT REAL” trending on Twitter being the que for my attention. But the slap heard around the world has collected mixed reviews. My reaction at first was a bit of disbelief and shock that such a well-respected actor would do such a drastic thing on live television that was being internationally broadcasted. However, it is understood that in the heat of the moment Smith would want to defend his wife. Jada Pinkett-Smith has been open in talking about her hair loss and health, and Chris Rock making a jab at it would offend any reasonable person. The medical conditions of others shouldn’t be a place of comedy.
Will Smith seemed to initially laugh at the joke, but must’ve quickly changed his mind when he saw his obviously not laughing wife. Maybe, just maybe, smacking Rock on stage wasn’t the move that needed to be made. A post to social media, a news outlet statement or even condemning Rock’s joke during the acceptance speech that Smith made when he won Best Actor would’ve been better. It would also allow him to maintain his invitation to the ceremony, which is under question by the Academy.
He did get praise from social media for taking immediate action in defending his wife, but the time and place could’ve been different. But the internet is going to remember this Oscars moment forever, and it’s being tacked on to the long list of phenomenal award show celebrity moments.
Abby Provencal can be reached at