The 94th Academy Awards took a very interesting turn in its last hour. Chris Rock took the stage as a presenter to unveil the recipient of Best Documentary Feature. In the lead-up to the reveal, Rock made a few jokes here and there, including one about Jada Pinkett Smith's haircut—a result of her public battle with alopecia, a diagnosis she received in 2018.
In what appears to be a moment entirely not scripted, Will Smith then got out of his seat and took to the stage, slapping Rock before returning to his seat. Though ABC silenced the audio, Smith could be seen yelling "Keep my wife's name out of your f-cking mouth," as Rock tried to continue his monologue.
VIA JAPANESE TELEVISION: The uncensored exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/j0Z184ZyXa— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 28, 2022
"Oh wow," Rock said immediately after the slap. "Will Smith just smacked the sh-t out of me. Wow, dude. It was a GI Jane joke."
Smith went on to repeat his line, before Rock added "I'm going to, okay?" The comedian and SNL alumnus was visibly shaken, trying to figure out his cues on how to continue to monologue. After a few seconds, the presenter was able to continue.
Smith's in attendance at the awards for his third Oscar nomination. He's part of two awards this year, Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard and Best Picture, for producing that same film.
The actor went viral last year after helping pay for his co-stars out of his own pocket after Warner Brothers opted to move the film to HBO Max. "The first time we talked, I saw a little bit of a flash," Smith told EW of his role. "He was one of the most misunderstood people during that time. Nobody got it…He was so far ahead in terms of the balance between pushing and protecting, [and] had a savant-level comprehension of when those moments were."
Warner's synopsis for the flick can be found below.
"King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever. Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith ("Ali," "The Pursuit of Happyness," "Bad Boys for Life") stars as Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green ("Monsters and Men").