Jessica Chastain accepted her Oscar win and then explained what was going through her head. After Will Smith hit Chris Rock on stage, she said it was a moment of confusion.
In March, at the 94th annual Academy Awards, Chastain won Best Actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. After Smith, 53, walked onto the stage and hit Rock, 57, over a joke made about his wife’s shaved head. (Jada Pinkett Smith lives with alopecia,)
Smith also won an award moments after giving a tear-filled speech in front of a stunned audience.
Speaking with Net-a-Porter, Chastain recalled giving her speech, saying she tried to bring a “calmness” to the atmosphere. She called it a “weird night” overall.
“I walked into a very charged energy in that room, and I was trying to figure out … how to just breathe and create a calmness,” she said.
The 45-year-old actress gave a speech that talked about how she feels about intolerance, discrimination, and her purpose as an actress. Chastain said, “I didn’t know everything I was going to say and there [were] moments where I started to get emotional so I pulled it back, [but] I had an idea of what I wanted to use that global platform to create if I got up there.”
She added of celebrating her win the rest of the evening, “So many people after [the award ceremony] were coming up to me and they could see how genuinely surprised I was. … I’m used to just putting my head down.”
In her acceptance speech, Chastain said, “We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country, with the only goal of further dividing us.”
“There’s violence and hate crimes being perpetuated on innocent civilians all over the world,” she added.
“And in times like this, I think of Tammy, and I’m inspired by her radical acts of love,” Chastain continued of her real-life character. “I’m inspired by her passion. I see it as a guiding principle that leads us forward, and it connects us all in the desire that we want to be accepted for who we are, accepted for who we love, and to live a life without the fear of violence or terror.”
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