Here's a play-by-play of everything that happened from our reporters on the ground.

Everything that happened at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night, from West Side Story Oscar winner Ariana DeBose celebrating herself as "an openly queer woman of color" to Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's stirring performance of "Be Alive," were overshadowed by the slap. By now, you know what slap we're talking about: Will Smith smacking Chris Rock in the face on stage after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head.

Those watching at home likely remember the awkward attempt to figure out what was going on, the shock that set in when it was revealed to be a genuine moment, and the speech Smith gave in the aftermath when he accepted Best Actor for King Richard. Here's everything else that went down, according to Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE reporters in the room when it happened.

Chris Rock
Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The joke

Everything started off fine enough. Rock came out on the Oscars stage to present the award for Best Documentary Feature, but he squeezed in some jokes before getting to the reveal.

He launched with a quip about couple and joint Oscar nominees Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, joking that Bardem must be praying for Smith to win Best Actor. "If she loses, he can't win!" Rock said.

Then he moved to the Smiths: "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it."

Reaction to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock
Credit: ABC

Jada's reaction

Jada Pinkett Smith immediately rolled her eyes at the comment, a reaction that was caught on camera for the live broadcast on ABC.

The 50-year-old actress publicly revealed her struggle with hair loss caused by alopecia, which she will occasionally document on her Instagram page. "This is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So I thought I'd just share it so y'all are not asking any questions," she said in a video shared with her followers in December. She added, "Now at this point, I can only laugh."

The actress and her husband, however, were not laughing Oscars night. 

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock
Credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


Attendees didn't quite seem to know what was going on at first when Smith promptly walked up to Rock on stage and slapped him across the face before calmly sauntering back to his seat.

While the broadcast itself went silent, Rock responded in the room by saying, "Oh wow! Wow! Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me." People initially laughed and clapped, seemingly thinking it was part of the joke. The reality of the situation became clear once Smith, at this point sitting back in his chair next to Pinkett Smith, shouted at Rock, "Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth."

"Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke," Rock replied, to which Smith repeated his previous remark.  

"Everyone in the mezzanine was standing up to see what was going on — everyone shocked," a PEOPLE staffer says. "You could hear a pin drop. Everyone was looking bug-eyed at each other like, 'OMG is this really happening?' Chris Rock looked stunned." 

"I thought it was a skit," CODA star Emilia Jones was overheard saying, according to reporters on the scene. 

"The first time Will said it, you couldn't make out what he was saying," says one reporter. "But then everyone went silent and Will said it again: 'Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth.'"

Jada Pinkett Smith, Denzel Washington and Will Smith
Credit: Rob Latour/Shutterstock

Some words from Denzel

Denzel Washington, an Oscar winner and a fellow nominee in Smith's Best Actor category this year, walked over to speak with the Smiths. The thespian was within 3 feet of the stage but didn't acknowledge Rock initially, per EW and PEOPLE staff. After a few words, Washington returned to his seat, but he was seen speaking with Smith alongside Tyler Perry again later during the broadcast's commercial break. 

Smith would later mention Washington in his Best Actor acceptance speech. "What Denzel said to me a few moments ago, he said, 'At your highest moment, that's when the devil comes for you,'" Smith remarked. "I want to be a vessel for love."

Reaction to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock
Credit: ABC

The scramble

"It's all anyone is talking about downstairs. Everyone. And nobody thinks it was staged," remarked one EW and PEOPLE staffer. 

With less than 30 minutes before the award for Best Actor was to be announced, and Smith being the projected winner, the actor's team went to work. Publicists were spotted crouched near both Smiths during the commercial break as everyone in attendance was still reeling from the moment. 

Questlove, who had come up on stage directly after the slap to accept the award for Best Documentary Feature, was asked about the moment behind the scenes in the press room. "Not talking about that. We're very happy to accept this award," he said. 

Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban were among the celebrities who approached Smith in the aftermath. The pair were seen giving the actor a prolonged hug before Smith went back to speaking with his publicist. 

Will Smith
Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Will Smith wins Best Actor

Questlove heard mumbling during his interview in the press room that night. "I hear mumbling. I was like, another situation just happened. Running for cover," he remarked. When someone in the room shouted that Smith had just won Best Actor, the musician and director said, "Of course he did! West Philly in the house!"

Others seemed to be generally elated, according to an EW staffer who was present for Smith's speech. Rami Malek, who won Best Actor in 2019 for Bohemian Rhapsody, was at the bar when he uttered "winner" at Smith's victory. 

Oscars after-parties
Credit: Stefanie Keenan/VF22/WireImage for Vanity Fair

The after-aftermath

All that occurred during the Oscars ceremony seemed to stay at the Oscars ceremony. 

Smith was seen holding Pinkett Smith's dress train as they departed the ceremony, and the actor had skipped the press room entirely following his win. Someone amongst the media asked an Academy representative, "What about Chris Rock?" which garnered laughter.

Smith was later seen out and about at the Vanity Fair Oscars party with Pinkett Smith and their kids Willow, Jaden, and Trey. Jaden had even seemed to weigh in on the incident, tweeting, "And That's How We Do It."

Smith himself was seen dancing to his 1997 song "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." 

Other celebrities at the after party understandably declined to comment on the situation. "I don't have a comment on that. I love everybody!" Queen Latifah remarked when asked about the slap. 

Serena Williams, whose story inspired King Richard, said at the Governors Ball celebration that "obviously" Smith winning Best Actor was the best part of her night. "But that's all I will say about that," she added. 

Tiffany Haddish, another of Pinkett Smith's Girls Trip costars, defended Smith's actions, telling a PEOPLE reporter, "When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me." Haddish said she spoke to the couple afterward and that Pinkett Smith appreciated her husband's actions and that Smith was doing "fine."

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Rock decided not to press charges against Smith for the slap. Diddy, who mentioned the moment on stage at the Oscars during his introduction of the Godfather reunion, later told Page Six the strife has been resolved. "That's over. I can confirm that," he said, adding, "It's all love. They're brothers." 

Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring Oscars analysis, exclusive interviews, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's movies and performances.

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