Oscars academy condemns Will Smith's actions after Chris Rock slap and launches review

280322 Will Smith slaps Chris Rock, AP
Will Smith stormed onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia. Credit: AP

ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar reports from Los Angeles on the moment Will Smith slapped Oscars host Chris Rock

The Oscars film academy has condemned the actions Will Smith after the actor slapped presenter Chris Rick during the awards ceremony on Sunday night.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, as it is formally known, said on Monday it would be launching a formal review into the incident.

In a statement to media on Monday, the film academy said: "The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show.

"We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law."

It's unclear whether the review puts Smith's award for best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams in jeopardy - the actor's first Oscar.

The incident dominated a night which saw Coda, which features a predominantly deaf cast, named best picture, while Troy Kotsur made history as the first deaf male actor to win a gong and Sir Kenneth Branagh won the best original screenplay prize for his semi-autobiographical film Belfast.

What does this mean for Will Smith's career? ITV News Entertainment Editor Nina Nannar gives an answer

What happened?

Smith appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about his wife's short haircut.

Jada Pinkett-Smith, a Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host, has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”.

Smith appeared to be laughing at the joke but stopped when he saw his wife rolling her eyes.

Smith then walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

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Following the incident, Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington were among the stars to comfort Smith.

ITV News Entertainment Editor Nina Nannar reported that she believed Smith and Rock had had a private meeting to discuss what happened since the incident and that the latter did not plan to press charges.

How has Hollywood reacted?

Shortly after the incident, Serena Williams shared a video on her Instagram story showing her looking shocked.

In a second clip, the sportswoman admitted she “had to put her drink down”.

After the altercation, Smith's 23-year-old son, Jaden, tweeted: “And That’s How We Do It”

And on the red carpet, past Oscar winner Jon Voight told ITV News: "If someone insulted my wife, in the way that it happened, I'd be pretty angry myself."

The chaos ensued after Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinckett Smith's shaved head. Credit: AP

Many members of the film industry criticised Smith's actions. Star Wars actor Mark Hamill dubbed it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”. He added: “Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault… not so much.”

Comedian Kathy Griffin suggested Smith’s actions set a bad precedent for her profession. She said on Twitter: “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. “Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”

Chris Rock reacts after being hit by Will Smith. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

The incident cast a cloud over Smith’s acceptance speech for his first ever Oscar, after he was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father.”

Breaking down in tears, he said: “I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.

“You’ve got to be able have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.”

He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise 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.”

He continued: “Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”

Jada Pinkett Smith, from left, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Credit: AP

A tweet on the official Academy account said: “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.”

Who else won awards on Oscar night?

Family drama Coda, which stands for child of deaf adults, was named best picture at the ceremony, while Kotsur made history as he was named best supporting actor.

Troy Kotsur appeared overwhelmed on stage. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

The film also won best adapted screenplay.

Kotsur dedicated his gong to “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”, adding: “This is our moment”.

Sir Kenneth won the Oscar for his screenplay for Belfast, which is based on his own childhood during the Troubles.

Meanwhile, the Oscar for best short film went to The Long Goodbye starring and co-written by British actor and musician Riz Ahmed.

Sir Kenneth Branagh Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The 11-minute feature was released alongside his album of the same name - set in the near-future, it depicts a south Asian family in London being terrorised by an all-white militia force.

West Side Story star Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Anita in the classic musical, 60 years after her predecessor in the role, Rita Moreno, earned the statuette herself.

Concluding her speech, DeBose said: “Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus.

“Look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art."

Ariana DeBose collects her gong from Daniel Kaluuya Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Jessica Chastain was named best actress for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, while Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won best original song for No Time To Die from the James Bond film of the same name.

Disney juggernaut Encanto was named best animated film at the ceremony, while Dune, an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel, won six Oscars, including a best score win for composer Hans Zimmer.