Will Smith’s Slap Dominates 2022 Oscars

By Emily Berliner

New York City, New York

Actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars on Sunday March 27th. (Ruth Fremson / The New York Times)

On the Sunday of March 27th, the long-awaited 94th annual Academy Awards took place. Hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes, this year’s Academy Awards show showcased stunning outfits, incredible wins, unforgettable moments, and lots of emotion. The Oscars were a show of many firsts. Some of the winners from the night included Jessica Chastain for her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and Best Supporting Role went to Troy Kotsur, for his part in “CODA.” Kotsur is the first man who is deaf to ever win an Oscar for acting, an incredible achievement and an important victory for the deaf community. Ariana Debose took home the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting role for “West Side Story.”


Debose is both the first Afro-Latina and openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for acting. This win also made Anita, the character she portrayed, the third character to win an Oscar for two performances by different actors. CODA won the Oscar for Best Picture, the first-ever movie from a streaming service to win in this category. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” the hit from “Encanto” was performed live for the first time at the event. The fan-favorite movie won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, to nobody’s surprise. The show also celebrated music by awarding the Oscar for Best Original Song to “No Time To Die,” by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS.


Music was not the only entertainment the show had to offer. There were also several jokes delivered by the hosts and award presenters. Chris Rock’s crack at Jada Pinkett Smith’s baldness, likening it to G.I. Jane was not received well by Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will Smith. In response to the joke, Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Rock across the face. He sat back in his seat and proceeded to scream at Rock, which was then muted by ABC and viewers viewing the awards from home.


Moments later, Smith accepted the Oscar for best actor in a leading role for his performance in “King Richard.” His acceptance speech was overshadowed by the drama that had just transpired. After the ceremony, many fans and colleagues called upon the Academy to revoke his award. On Friday, Smith announced that he had resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. In a statement to CNN, Smith wrote “I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”


This unexpected moment was easily the most controversial and memorable moment of the entire show and has sparked debate among viewers. Some are supporting Chris Rock, others are on Smith’s side of the conflict, while many others believe the whole thing was solely a publicity stunt. Overall, it was a turbulent night with highs and lows, but with no shortage of entertainment. The 94th Academy Awards celebration of 2022 will certainly be one to remember.