Will Smith had a wide range of emotions on Academy Awards night, from his heated exchange with Chris Rock to dancing — with his new Oscar in hand — to "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.
After storming to the stage mid-show to slap Rock, crying while addressing the wild moment in his Best Actor acceptance speech minutes later and then skipping the Oscars press room, Will still went out to celebrate his Best Actor win. He arrived at the famous Vanity Fair Oscars party — flanked by his family, including wife Jada Pinkett Smith, the target of Rock's G.I. Jane joke — and danced to his hit song while party-goers circled around him. He's also since made light of the drama on social media.
Video has surfaced gone viral of Will rapping along to his 1998 hit. Onlookers all had their phones up recording the moment in what was a complicated night for the actor-singer who shot to stardom in the ’90s on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
It was a question as to whether the King Richard star, 53, would attend after-parties at all, having skipped the press room at the Oscars — and not posing for photos with the other winners in the acting categories — as is tradition. But he arrived at the Vanity Fair bash, held at L.A.'s Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with his family: Jada and kids Trey, Jaden and Willow.
Will used the opportunity to pose with his Oscar, which he would have just done backstage at the show. (The others — Best Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose, Best Supporting Actor Troy Kotsur, Best Actress Jessica Chastain — posed without him.) He did the traditional hamming it up with his statuette, pointing to it and smiling.
Will referenced the drama in an Instagram post after the show. Before the show, he shared a video and photos taken with Jada in their Oscars best throwing fierce looks, captioning it, "Me 'n @jadapinkettsmith got all dressed up to choose chaos."
After the big dust-up with Rock, Will commented on his own post, writing, "You can't invite people from Philly or Baltimore nowhere!!" (Will hails from Philly; Jada is from Baltimore.)
Emotions were clearly running high for Will on his big night. Nominated for his third Oscar for acting, with no previous wins, there was anticipation. However, he and his wife, who have been married since 1997, were the targets of more than one joke. Earlier in the show, Regina Hall, who hosted the show with Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, made a quip about the couple's open marriage.
While rounding up a bunch of Hollywood hunks to take a "COVID test" in a weird bit that landed flat anyway, Hall said: "Will Smith … um, you’re married but you know what, you’re on the list and looks like Jada approved you so you get on up here!"
Will and Jada have both spoken about not having a monogamous relationship; they have both had relationships outside their marriage.)
So later in the show — when things went sideways — the Smiths were probably already feeling like proverbial punching bags. Rock cracked a joke about Jada's shaved head, saying, "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see you." A simple enough joke — Demi Moore shaved her head for her role in the 1997 movie — but last year, the Red Table Talk host revealed she shaved her head due to the condition alopecia — or rapid hair loss in the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
At first, Will seemed to laugh along with Rock, but things took a dark turn. He walked to the stage and hit Rock, who was clearly not expecting it. Then, he returned to his seat and dropped F-bombs, including telling Rock: "Keep my wife's name out your f**king mouth."
The extremely awkward situation was compounded by the fact that Will hadn't yet won his Oscar. So minutes after he hit and cursed out Rock, in front of the best of the industry and the Williams family, he had to return to the stage to accept his award. He gave his speech, through tears.
"I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people," Will told the crowd, referring to the drama.
He also shared what Denzel Washington told him during the commercial break to calm him down: "'In your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.'"
Jada hasn't spoken out, but their son Jaden made it clear Will had family support — on the red carpet as well as on social media.
After Ali star's slap, Jaden posted on Twitter, "And That’s How We Do It."
And That’s How We Do It
— Jaden (@jaden) March 28, 2022