Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars

Last Updated on May 13, 2022

will smith Oscar slap

Here’s a moment a lot of us didn’t see coming; while presenting Best Documentary Feature, Chris Rock went off on a bit and made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head look, saying he was looking forward to G.I. Jane 2. While Smith initially seemed to laugh it off, Jada gave him the stink-eye BIG TIME, leading to Smith charging the stage, slapping Rock right there on stage (with a thud), and yelling (twice) for Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth”). It seemed like a bit at first, with ABC cutting the audio feed, but if you watch the uncensored version that went out on TV internationally, it was clear that this was no joke and Smith was MAD resulting in the Oscar slap heard around the world.

Rock seemed stunned by everything saying, “it was a G.I. Jane joke.” Smith was not laughing, and apparently, none other than Denzel Washington had to run interference between the two during the commercial break. Everything got even more awkward when Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor – the first in his career. But, as he said in his speech, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family”, and then, in tears, he admitted that you have to be able to take abuse and people disrespecting you, and clearly he wasn’t going to take any lip. He even quoted Denzel saying, “at your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.” Amid tears, Smith apologized to the Academy, and his fellow nominees but NOT Chris Rock. Yikes. A complicated speech for a complicated moment that will no doubt rank as both the greatest moment in Smith’s career (for the Oscar win) and perhaps the worst too.

Do you think Smith went way too far or did Rock step over the line?

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.