By Florence Mafomemeh
Will Smith giving his acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for best actor in a leading role for “King Richard” at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
It was supposed to be a night of celebration for Will Smith on his first Oscar win but it is the loud slap heard around the world on live TV on Sunday at the 2022 Oscars in Los Angeles that has had people talking. Neither a shocked Chris Rock nor anyone in the Dolby Theater saw it coming.
Rock, a presenter at the awards, made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. That didn’t sit well with her husband Will Smith who went up to the stage and slapped Rock really hard in the face. The King Richard star returned to his seat before saying, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.” In response, Rock attempted to laugh the situation off before promising not to mention Jada.
The Oscars slap that was seen and heard around the world.
Later in the night, Smith won his first Oscar twenty years after his first nomination. Accepting the award for best actor in a leading role for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena, he said, ‘At your highest moment be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.’ Something he mentioned Denzel Washington told him off camera.
Among other things, Smith thanked the Williams family for entrusting him with their story saying he wanted to be an ambassador for love. “It’s like I want to be a vessel for love.” “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.”
Smith thanked his mother, family and wife for all the support saying that this is a beautiful moment. “I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me.” He said it’s about being able to shine light on all of the people he worked with.
Smith’s win was clearly overshadowed by the incident earlier in the night. He wrapped up his speech with an apology. “I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.” Without mentioning Chris Rock, Smith said he hopes the academy invites him back.
The day after the Oscars, Diddy confirmed that Smith and Rock made up after the Oscars slap. Meanwhile, LAPD said Rock declined to press charges against Smith. In an Instagram post, Smith has apologized to Rock. The academy has condemned Smith’s action and launched a review of the situation.