Oscar 2022, Will Smith and the slap to Chris Rock: what happened

The 2022 Oscars ceremony was marked by an unpleasant event involving actor Will Smith, winner of the Best Actor Award for A Winning Family, and comedian Chris Rock. As a reaction to a joke that Rock addressed to Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, the actor took the stage and slapped the comedian.

Back in his seat, Smith then railed against Rock: keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth. Rock’s unhappy line was: Jada, I love you, Private Jane 2, can’t wait to see you. The reference to the nonexistent Soldier Jane sequel explains why Demi Moore sports a shaved hair look in the original film, as Smith’s wife currently is due to alopecia (an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss).

The fact did not affect the awarding of the prize to Smith which took place during the evening.


After the initial dismay, there was no lack of those who thought that it was a simple staging. Some details suggest it: while Jada Pinkett rolls her eyes after listening to the joke, Smith laughs, then gets up and gives the slap which, according to some observers, is not very credible both in the gestures and in the sound of the shot. And then there is also a hint of a smile on the actor’s face after committing the deed, which helped to increase the doubts. Other sources contacted by Rolling Stone confirm at least that Rock’s joke had not been agreed and that several members of the Academy were anything but happy to attend the scene, in fact after the event the official statement arrived.


The Academy does not condone any form of violencespecifies the official Twitter account of the Academy which then, in a statement released to CNN underlines:

The Academy condemns Mr. Smith’s actions during last night’s show. We have officially initiated a formal review of the incident and will consider further actions and consequences in line with our statute, standards of conduct, and California law.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith he could be sanctioned by the suspension of his position as a member of the Academy, but his Academy Award is unlikely to be revoked. Meanwhile, the gesture does not seem to have consequences on a penal level: Chris Rock has decided not to file a complaint against Smith.


THE first signs of repentance Will Smith manifested them on the occasion of the speech of thanks for the Oscar received:

Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like Richard Williams *. But love makes you do crazy things.

Then came the more articulate excuses and extended with a message posted on Instagram that emphasizes:

Violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at the Academy Awards was unacceptable and unforgivable. Jokes against me are part of my job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

I’d like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of place and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.

I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone who watches around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my King Richard family. I am deeply sorry that my behavior has tainted that it has been an otherwise wonderful journey for all of us.

* reference to the father of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams whom Smith plays in the movie A Winning Family


Among the many we have selected two: one serious and one that wants to lighten the tone (and pay homage to our cinema, excluded from the Oscars awards). The first is that of the director Gabriele Muccino who knows Smith well (he filmed The Pursuit of Happiness and Seven Souls with him) and who said he was deeply sorry about how Smith managed to ruin the most important day of his life, the one in which he received his first Academy Award.

We close with the ironic image that Enrico Mentana posted on his Instagram account. It contains the reference to the homonymous film by Paolo Sorrentino which failed to win the award for best foreign film, beaten by Drive My Car.

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