On cinema’s biggest night, viewers are likely to remember one hit in particular.
During the Oscars, Will Smith climbed up on stage during Chris Rock’s presentation of an award and slapped Rock in the face.
Rock was visibly surprised and processed the smack by confirming the reality what many initially thought was a stunt: “Wow. Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me,” Rock said.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f— mouth!” Smith twice shouted back.
But what did Rock do to bring Smith to blows? Unsurprisingly, Rock made a joke that some, including Smith, felt may have gone too far.
Rock, spotting Jada Pinkett Smith in the audience, commented that he was looking forward to her starring in a sequel to “G.I. Jane,” a 1997 film in which Demi Moore’s character joins the armed forces, requiring her to shave her head.
Pinkett Smith, whose bald head and green dress were frequently caught on camera during the ceremony, suffers from hair loss due to alopecia.
Smith was visibly upset, and other entertainers, including Denzel Washington, pulled him aside after the scuffle to calm him down.
Minutes later, Smith won the Academy Award for best actor for his role as the titular “King Richard,” and he began his acceptance speech with an allusion to the incident.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said.
As for Rock, he was mostly unfazed by the slap, continuing the presentation of best documentary and noting that the altercation created “the greatest night in the history of television.”
He later declined to file a report with the Los Angeles Police Department, Rolling Stone reported.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences later put out a statement condemning the incident.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world,” the Academy wrote on Twitter.