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WIll Smith confronts Chris Rock, then wins best actor Oscar

LOS ANGELES (THE WASHINGTON POST/AP) – The Academy Awards briefly came to a stunning halt on Sunday night when Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, causing Will Smith to come to the stage and hit him in the face.

The moment was not planned, said a person close to the Oscars production.

“Jada, I love you: ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock said while presenting the award for best documentary, an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s bald head. (Pinkett Smith spoke out about her alopecia diagnosis several years ago.)

The camera cut to the star couple, as Smith appeared to laugh. Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and did not look pleased.

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP

Rock then held up his arms in a “who, me?” gesture as some of the audience appeared to groan. “That was a nice one,” Rock laughed, and then looked like he was ready to continue. All of a sudden, the tone changed very abruptly as Smith jumped out of his seat and made his way to the stage.

“Uh oh!” Rock said jovially. He started laughing as Smith kept walking. Then Smith slapped him in the face.

The audience was still cracking up, perhaps thinking this was all a bit – and then abruptly stopped. ABC cut the sound on the broadcast, so there was about 15 seconds of silence. However, a clip from Australian TV making the rounds on Twitter showed the dialogue between the two actors.

Smith later won best actor honors for his portrayal of tennis dad Richard Williams in “King Richard” and apologised afterward to many people — including tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, Richard Williams’ daughters — but did not mention Rock in his apology.

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. AP

More details on Tuesday’s Borneo Bulletin