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Will Smith addresses Chris Rock incident in Oscars speech: 'Love will make you do crazy things'

The “King Richard” star won his first Oscar after the show’s most talked about moment.
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/ Source: TODAY

Will Smith returned to the Oscars stage to accept the best actor award for his performance in “King Richard” following his intense interaction with Chris Rock on Sunday night. 

Image: 94th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood
Will Smith reacts with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith after winning the Oscar for best actor for his performance in "King Richard" at the 94th Academy Awards. Brian Snyder / Reuters

When he was announced as the winner by Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and John Travolta, the 53-year-old kissed wife Jada Pinkett Smith before making his speech at the 94th Academy Awards.  “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” he began, seeming to allude to his earlier reaction after Rock’s joke about his wife’s bald head. 

Smith added, “In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.”

He then explained how working on “King Richard’’ allowed him to “protect” his co-stars Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton. In the film, Smith portrays Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard, who created a detailed plan to help his daughters become tennis legends. 

“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people,” Smith said. 

Will Smith
Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.Chris Pizzello / AP

Continuing to refer to the previous exchange with Rock, the actor said, “I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”

Denzel Washington, who was nominated in the same category, inaudibly made a comment to Smith off stage and the “King Richard” star replied, “Love you, D.”  

Smith told the crowd, “Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.’”

After the audience applauded, Smith repeated his desire to be “a vessel for love.” 

The camera panned to Venus and Serena Williams sitting in the crowd as Smith said, “I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story.”

He spoke again about love and caring for others before adding, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”

As tears streamed down his face, Smith explained that he was not crying because he won. 

He said his focus was shining a light on the entire cast and crew of “King Richard” as well as the Williams family.  

“Art imitates life,” Smith laughed. “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

He called the moment “complicated” and thanked his mother, who was watching from Philadelphia. 

After showing appreciation for the audience and the Williams family again, he ended his speech with, “I’m hoping the Academy invites me back. Thank you.”

He giggled and left the stage as the crowd applauded him.

His win came after he appeared to hit Rock onstage, creating social media’s most talked about moment from the awards ceremony. 

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Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s baldness before he gave out the award for best documentary. 

The comedian said that Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia and shaved her head last year, could star in the “G.I. Jane” sequel. Demi Moore starred in the 1997 film and shaved her hair off for the role. 

After Rock’s joke, Smith approached him onstage and appeared to slap him.

Smith returned to his seat and seemed to be yelling “keep my wife’s name out of your f---ing mouth” to the comedian.

Rock paused for a moment and then told the crowd, “That was the greatest night in the history of television."

Los Angeles Police Department said they are aware of the altercation and that Rock declined to file a police report, according to NBC News.

“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigation report," the department said in a statement obtained by NBC News.