Will Smith tearfully apologizes in Oscars acceptance speech after Chris Rock’s disastrous Jada Pinkett Smith alopecia joke

Will Smith physically attacked Oscars host Chris Rock in a shocking altercation before winning the Academy Award for Best Actor

Will Smith apologizes in Oscars acceptance speech joke after disastrous alopecia joke
(Image credit: Getty)

Will Smith made a tearful apology in his Oscars acceptance speech for Best Actor last night, shortly after he attacked host Chris Rock on stage. 

The Hollywood legend accepted the prestigious accolade for his performance in King Richard at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, marking his first-ever Oscar win after two previous nominations. 

The celebratory moment, however, was largely overshadowed by an on-air incident that occurred between Will and the awards show's host, Chris Rock, earlier in the evening. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star physically attacked the comedian after he made a joke about his wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith, and her struggle with alopecia —much to the shock of both viewers and attendees. 

The jaw-dropping moment—which reportedly won't result in any charges—will likely go down in history as one of the most controversial Oscars moments ever. 

"Jada, can't wait for GI Jane 2," Chris said, referring to Demi Moore's shaved head in the 1997 action film, GI Jane. 

Will then ascended the stage and abruptly hit Chris, leaving the SNL alum stumbling to regain his posture. When Will took his seat again, he shouted, "Keep my wife's name out of your  f**king mouth!"

Chris attempted to relieve the tension by joking, "That was the greatest night in the history of television," before moving on to present the award for the best documentary feature. 

Will apologized for his behavior during his acceptance speech for his Oscar for Best Actor, tearfully addressing the Academy and the other actors nominated in the category. 

"I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," he said. "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. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family."

Will Smith

(Image credit: Getty)

He also likened himself to his on-screen character, Richard Williams, explaining that the two men share similar family values. The tennis coach is best known as the father of Serena and Venus Williams and has been credited by both athletes as a major influence on their successful careers on the court. 

"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,” he said. 

"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.