Disney star Will Smith punches another star in the face, stops the “Disney commercial” playing out at the Oscars

will smith chris rock punch 94th academy awards
Credit: ABC Screenshot

The nominees for strangest participants in an Academy Awards show are Disney and Disney film stars, and the Oscar goes to both.

In years past, there have been some strange things take place at the Academy Awards. There have been some off-color things said at the Academy Awards. But the 94th Annual Academy Awards show Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los  Angeles might just go down in history as the weirdest, most uncomfortable awards show yet.

It’ll certainly be one for the history books, especially when it comes to the Disney side of things at the Oscars.

For starters, Disney fans had long expected the Academy Awards to be heavily Encanto-fied. An announcement had already been made that the cast of Encanto would be singing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” during the 94th Academy Awards show in Hollywood. Disney’s 60th animated feature was up for the honor of Best Animated Feature, and Lin Manuel Miranda was also nominated for Best Original Song, “Dos Orugitas.”

Encanto - "Dos Oruguitas" Song Clip (2021) Disney - YouTube

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature went, of course, to Disney’s Encanto, leaving Raya and the Last Dragon and PIXAR’s Luca in its proverbial dust.


Credit: Walt Disney Animation

The film was also nominated for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, but Lin Manuel Miranda was beat out by Hanz Zimmer for Dune and Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell for the title track in No Time to Die, respectively, shattering any hopes the musical and lyrical wizard may have had for achieving EGOT status at the Academy Awards–a status reserved only for those who’ve amassed an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, or Oscar, and a Tony Award.

Lin Manuel Miranda has each one on a bookshelf or in a case somewhere at home, except for the elusive Oscar so far. The Hamilton king was not in attendance at the 94th Academy Awards, which was another strange surprise about this year’s awards show. Miranda announced his decision to forgo the Oscars with a tweet on Saturday, saying he’d be bowing out because his wife, Vanessa Nadal, tested positive for COVID.

Who Is Lin-Manuel Miranda's Attorney Wife, Vanessa Nadal?

Credit: The List

Better luck next time, Lin, and here’s hoping your wife is feeling much better.

But that wasn’t the strangest thing about the Academy Awards this weekend. The cast of Encanto made their way through the tables of Hollywood royalty as they sang “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” but Carolina Gaitan, who voiced Pepita in Disney’s Encanto, began the song with some crazy movements–and that was only the beginning.

Carolina Gaitan Bruno encanto academy awards

Credit: ABC/Screenshot

For reasons unknown, Disney added a new verse to the montage, and despite the film and music being 100% Colombian, Megan Thee Stallion popped up to rap the new verse that had zero Colombian flare to it whatsoever.

Megan Thee Stallion Creates a Brand-New Verse for “We Don't Talk About Bruno” at Oscars 2022 | Vanity Fair

Credit: The Academy Awards/Disney-ABC

But things reached the height of weird, crazy, unsettling, and even a little scary last night when comedian Chris Rock stood up to present the award for Best Documentary. Before he got to the nominees, Rock saw Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith seated in the front row and commented about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.“Jada, I love you,” Chris Rock began, “‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?”

Rock was referring to the 1997 film, G. I. Jane, which starred Demi Moore as a Navy Seal candidate who shaves her head as part of the role.

The camera was on Pinkett Smith and Will Smith immediately following the comment. Pinkett Smith can be seen rolling her eyes, while Will Smith is smiling. But within seconds, Will Smith joined Chris Rock on the stage, walking up to him and striking him across the face. The entire altercation was caught on camera and displayed for the audience at the Dolby Theatre, as well as the millions of viewers in their homes across the country.

jada pinkett smith will smith oscars

Credit: ABC/Screenshot

And it didn’t stop there. Once Will Smith returned to his seat, he yelled back to Chris Rock, and though his words were inaudible, even novice lip readers got the message immediately. Rock responded, saying he was only making a G. I. Jane joke, to which Smith responded with the same words he had just yelled to Rock, but this time, they were heard ’round the world:

“Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth!” Smith shouted to Chris Rock, who was visibly shaken by the exchange.

To that point, it was unclear whether the altercation had been only a comedic bit gone wrong, but Smith’s shouting made it clear that this was no joke, and it had not been planned. Only moments later, Smith received his first-ever Academy Award for Best Actor in King Richard for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams.

The “Will Smith Chris Rock Academy Awards” incident will forever live in infamy, of this, we’re pretty convinced.

Enemy of the State' will be the latest film to make the jump to TV - Los Angeles Times

Credit: Disney

Part of Will Smith’s fame comes from roles he has played for Disney, according to Disney Fandom:

“For Disney, he played Robert Clayton Dean in the 1998 spy-thriller film, Enemy of the State. He also made an appearance in Disneyland’s 35th Anniversary Celebration and the 2004 Miramax film, Jersey Girl. He was mentioned in the Jonas L.A. episode “Wrong Song”. He also portrayed the Genie in the 2019 live-action adaptation of Aladdin, and voiced Lance Sterling in FOX/Blue Sky Studios’ Spies in Disguise.”

Will Smith's Genie Causes Outrage and Disbelief Online | IndieWire

Will Smith as the Genie/Credit: Disney

Smith also stars in Disney-owned National Geographic’s new series Welcome to Earth, streamable on Disney+. The series showcases Smith teaming up with scientists and explorers who meet adventure head-on around the world. The series hit the Disney+ platform in December 2021, and you can stream it anytime with a subscription to Disney+. 

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!