“We all were Lupita [Nyong’o] watching the Will Smith and Chris Rock mess,” tweeted one fan during the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday (Mar. 27). Indeed, Lupita, 39, seemed to sum up the whole mood of the night after Will, 53, got out of his seat to slap Chris, 57, for making an off-handed joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith. When Will returned to his seat and loudly told Chris to “keep my wife’s name out of your f-cking mouth,” Lupita’s shocked reaction (and the realization that this was not a bit) became one of the viral memes of the night.
“Lupita realizing the slap Will smith gave Chris rock was legit represents me.” “Lupita Nyongo in this whole will smith thing went through the entire range of emotions sitting there. She had like eight wholly different reactions in like five seconds.” “Give Lupita a Best Supporting Actress award for “Will Smith Punching Chris Rock in the Face at The Oscars.” “Don’t let this Will Smith / Chris Rock feud distracts you from the fact that Lupita is the Queen and a f-cking moooood.”
Lupita Nyongo in this whole will smith thing went through the entire range of emotions sitting there. She had like 8 wholly different reactions in like 5 seconds 😂
— Sumaya (@sumaARw) March 28, 2022
Lupita representando todo mundo com o tapa do Will Smith
— nanat BDAY LAU (@tzhland) March 28, 2022
yeah, yeah, will smith this, will smith that, lupita stole the show. pic.twitter.com/slbsnwmZoW
— amber-lee (@notamberlee) March 28, 2022
— Lafilmboi (@jeremiahrasaq) March 28, 2022
In a blistering instant, the 2022 Oscars became the night that Will Smith “smacked the sh-t” out of Chris Rock, as the comedian himself put it. Chris had made a joke about Jada’s bald head, comparing her look to the one Demi Moore sported in the 1997 war drama, G.I. Jane (“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya”). Will left his seat and approached a grinning Chris, only to slap the Grown Ups star. Will shouted profanities when he returned to his seat, and Chris – shrugging off the slap – continued to present the Best Documentary award.
Following this incident, many outlets noted that Chris made a remark about Jada when hosting the Oscars in 2016. Rock joked about Pinkett-Smith and her husband boycotting the show over the lack of diversity in the nominees. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” Chris said, per CNN. “I wasn’t invited.” Chris went on to joke about how Jad was “mad her man Will was not nominated for Concussion.”
“I get it,” said Chris. “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.” Days later when the paparazzi asked Jada bout the jokes, she said that it “comes with the territory [and] we gotta keep moving.”