Watch: Will Smith tearfully accepts Oscar moments after hitting Chris Rock on stage
The 2022 Oscars were thrown into chaos after Will Smith stormed the stage and hit Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, just minutes before Smith was named best actor at the ceremony.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, 53, took to the stage after being named Best Actor for his performance as Richard Williams — the father of tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams — in King Richard. Smith embraced the awards presenters Uma Thurman, Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta before making his heavily emotional speech.
Read it in full below:
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. 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.
"Making this film I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses that played Venus and Serena. 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 gotta be able to take abuse, and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that‘s OK.
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"But Richard Williams, and what I loved, thank you D. Denzel (Washington) said to me a few minutes ago, he said, “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”
"It’s like I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena.
"I just spit, I hope they didn’t see that.
"I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.
"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. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjunue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family.
Read more: Rock's joke about Jada in 2016 resurfaces
Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.
To my mother. Um, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother. She didn’t want to come out. She had her knitting friends, she has a knitting crew watching with her. Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife.
I’m taking up too much time. Thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment. I thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene, the entire Williams family. Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back.
Watch: Will Smith wins Oscar after slapping Chris Rock