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Jessica Chastain recalls accepting Oscar after Will Smith slap: “It was a weird night”

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Jessica Chastain has spoken out about receiving her Oscar just moments after the infamous Will Smith slap.

Chastain, who won Best Actress at the 94th Academy Awards for her performance in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, accepted the accolade right after Smith walked on stage and struck Chris Rock. Rock had made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia.

  • READ MORE: The Eyes of Tammy Faye review: Jessica Chastain elevates timid biopic

In a recent interview with Porter, Chastain said she had to search for “calmness” before accepting her award.

Recalling the occasion, she said: “Well, it was a weird night.

“I walked into a very charged energy in that room. And I was trying to figure out… how to just breathe and create a calmness.”

On why she chose to address intolerance and discrimination in her acceptance speech, she said: “I knew I wanted to touch on that because, with everything that was going on, it was clear that we were moving into an area in our politics of intolerance and discrimination.

“I didn’t know everything I was going to say and there were moments where I started to get emotional so I pulled it back,” she added. “But I had an idea of what I wanted to use that global platform to create if I got up there.”

Will Smith Chris Rock
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars 2022. Credit: Getty Images

Talking about the evening after the award ceremony, Chastain added: “So many people after were coming up to me and they could see how genuinely surprised I was. I’m used to just putting my head down.”

Earlier this month, Tyler Perry revealed what he said to Smith immediately after the on-stage altercation, and how reports of him “comforting” the actor didn’t tell the whole story.

“There’s a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry told People. “And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was OK. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult.”

Perry also labelled Smith’s behaviour as “wrong in no uncertain terms,” and that he “made sure” Smith was aware.

The actor-producer went on to say that Smith was “devastated” by his own actions and that he “couldn’t believe he did it”.

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