TV & Movies

Twitter Is Divided Over Will Smith’s Tearful Oscars Speech

After a physical altercation with Chris Rock, Smith accepted the Best Actor award and said, “Love makes you do crazy things.”

Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for 'King Richard' onstage during the ...

Before Will Smith won Best Actor for his work in King Richard, he’d already made headlines at the Oscars. In an unscripted, truly chaotic moment earlier in the broadcast, Smith went onstage and slapped Chris Rock for a joke made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. So when it did come time for Smith to accept his award, all eyes were on him.

Smith leaned in for a kiss from Jada before he went to the mic, and she seemed to give him a look that suggested he retain his composure. As he accepted the award, tears streamed down his face for the majority of his speech. Smith spoke about protecting the ones he loves, God, and the advice Denzel Washington gave him during a commercial break: “At your highest moment, be careful, because that’s when the devil comes for you.” Subtly addressing the altercation with Rock, Smith compared himself to Richard Williams — whom he portrayed in his Oscar-winning performance — stating, “Love makes you do crazy things.”

Smith also made sure to issue an apology, though he notably left Rock out of it. “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment, and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine light,” he said, before going on to name the several people involved in making King Richard, including Venus and Serena Williams.

As with most controversies, Twitter is divided about Smith’s win and his subsequent speech. Many couldn’t separate the two incidents:

People were especially confused that Rock made that joke at all, considering he previously produced Good Hair, a documentary focused around the perceptions of Black women’s hair.

Some defended Smith’s actions, which were perceived as a chivalrous act of love.

Others found the events to be disheartening and an overt endorsement of violence.

The moment made some users wonder if they really knew Smith.

Others found his roller coaster of a night to be a “power move” and were eating up his performance from start to finish.

For an awards show that has long struggled with relevancy, Smith’s antics — good or bad — made the entire show a much talked-about moment online, and Twitter was quick to joke about how the drama “saved” the Oscars.