Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes late apology to Chris Rock after Academy launches review

The Oscars has many past cringeworthy moments, but no violence towards a fellow actor

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Will Smith’s violence against Chris Rock at the Sunday night’s Oscar telecast could go down in history as the most obnoxious event in the broadcast’s 94-year history.

Late afternoon on Monday, Smith finally apologised to Rock, the Academy and the Williams family via Instagram.

Some of the Best Actor winner's peers have not taken too kindly to his actions.

A Few Good Men director Rob Reiner dismissed Smith's apology, calling for the star to show remorse to Rock personally and saying the King Richard star was "lucky Chris is not filing assault charges".

Director Judd Apatow expressed his disdain for Will Smith's behaviour in a now-deleted tweet

Director and comedian Judd Apatow was hypercritical of Smith in a now-deleted tweet:

“He could have killed him," Apatow said. "That’s pure, out-of-control rage and violence.

"They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”

And now there is speculation that Smith's behaviour may cost him the award because it was in breach of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' code of conduct.

The academy on Monday said it "condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night's show".

"We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law," the academy said.

Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson wrote to members in 2017, spelling out the conduct expected, Variety reported.

“There is no place in the academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognised standards of decency," Ms Hudson wrote.

"The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion or nationality.

"The board of governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values."

Ms Hudson made her comments after sexual misconduct allegations and abuse.

But there have been many other cringeworthy, racist and sexist gaffes before, during and after the show.

Billy Crystal

Actor Billy Crystal, who hosted the Oscars a record-breaking nine times, crossed many lines but 2012 may have been the nail in his hosting coffin.

Crystal appeared in blackface as Sammy Davis Jr in his opening monologue, and after Octavia Spencer's Best Supporting Actress win, he quipped, "After I saw The Help, I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45-minute drive."

The same year, Sacha Baron Cohen walked the red carpet in his Dictator costume, pretending to carry the ashes of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, which he dumped all over Ryan Seacrest.

Sean Penn

In 2015, Sean Penn made an awkward joke before announcing the winner for "Best Picture", Birdman. Before calling the name of Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Penn said, “"Who gave this [expletive] a Green Card?" referring to the US immigrant authorisation card.

On the red carpet before the show, Melanie Griffith was asked what she thought of Fifty Shades of Grey, which stars her daughter Dakota Johnson – who was standing right next to her.

After Griffith said that she had no intention of seeing it, Johnson hissed, "All right! You don't have to see it!”

Chris Rock

Chris Rock has a history of delivering backhanded compliments to Will Smith. As host in 2016, the comedian gave this jab: “Is it fair that Will didn’t get nominated for Concussion? No. But it’s also not fair that he got paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.”

Steve Martin

Some comments made by host Steve Martin were just downright bizarre. In 2010, the funnyman’s remarks not only fell flat, but offended many audience members.

“Everyone who’s ever worked with Meryl Streep says the same thing: Can that woman act! And what’s up with all the Hitler memorabilia?”

In 2003, Martin made an unfunny and sexist remark.

"There were smaller movies this year. There was a movie called Secretary about a woman who is humiliated by her boss is spanked and has to crawl on her knees and carries manila folders in her teeth. And they say there are no parts for women."

Seth McFarlane

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane was chosen to host the event in 2013 and consequently made several off-colour and racist remarks.

At one point, he pretended to confuse Denzel Washington with Eddie Murphy, “Denzel doesn’t care, he’s got a great sense of humour. He did all those Nutty Professor movies. He’s hilarious.”

Then he made a mockery of domestic violence with a joke aimed at Chris Brown and Rihanna.

Django Unchained "is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."


In 2017, there were several red carpet gaffes.

While interviewing Happy songster and Hidden Figures producer Pharrell, Jenna Bush Hager asked him about Hidden Fences.

Her mistake was combining Hidden Figures and Fences, both of which starred predominantly black casts. She apologised the next day on Twitter.

At the other end of the carpet, Ryan Seacrest took the opportunity to ask presenter Scarlett Johansson about shoes.

"Do you actually wear the shoes that you are wearing tonight for the rehearsal?" the morning show host asked.

Johansson shot back, "What a ridiculous question."

Updated: March 29, 2022, 11:19 AM