Despite being the odds-on favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, Will Smith still scored a major upset.
Chris Rock’s head getting smacked after a comedy at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith’s partner drew audible gasps from around the globe. But when he came out to accept his prize, Smith appeared to apologize, if not to Rock, then at least to the Academy and audience members.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family… In this business you gotta be able to have people disrespect you and you gotta smile and pretend that’s okay…”
— Pop Base (@PopBase) March 28, 2022
Smith began his speech with a reference to the fight, stating that James Williams, the performance of whom won the award, was “a fierce defender of his family.” Smith went on to say that in show business, people frequently “disparage you and you must smile and pretend it’s OK.”
Smith also apologized for his behavior during the ceremony in a statement to the crowd. Smith became enraged when Rock, who was presenting the Best Documentary award, made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s baldness, comparing it to Demi Moore’s shaved head in G.I. Jane.
The auto-immune disease alopecia areata afflicted Redhead Smith, causing baldness and rolling her eye at Rock after the gag. Her husband took it a step further by approaching Rock on the stage and smacking the left side of his face. Smith later screamed at Rock from his seat, telling the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth”.
Smith expressed his regret for the interruption to the ceremony and Academy, stating that he wanted to be a representative of Williams’ love for his children.
“I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love, and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family.”
– Will Smith
— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2022
Smith’s conduct will undoubtedly go down in the Academy Awards history books, along with notorious events like Brando’s oscar rejection speech by Sacheen Littlefeather, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s infamous La La Land/Moonlight envelope gaffe, Robert Opel’s streaking occurrence in 1974, and John Travolta’s mispronunciation flub-up.
“Love makes you do crazy things … I hope The Academy invites me back,” Smith said.
We will see, Will. We will see.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest