Jessica Chastain: I Tried to Bring ‘Calmness’ to Oscars After Will Smith Slap During ‘Weird Night’

"I walked into a very charged energy in that room," said Chastain, who opened up on what happened after the incident.
Jessica Chastain, 2022 Academy Awards win
Jessica Chastain at the 2022 Oscars
Sipa USA via AP

Jessica Chastain had the instinct to change the vibe at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when accepting her Best Actress win following Will Smith attacking presenter Chris Rock onstage.

The star of upcoming “Mothers’ Instinct” revealed to Net-a-Porter that the 94th Academy Awards “was a weird night” on March 27. “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,” Chastain said.

Best Actor winner Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a comment about Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut. Smith later was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years and resigned from the Academy. He also publicly apologized for having “deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” adding, “I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.”

Chastain’s acceptance speech for biopic “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” focused on inclusion, political activism, and “radical acts of love” in honor of late LGBTQ+ rights advocate Faye.

“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, [but] I had an idea of what I wanted to use that global platform to create if I got up there,” Chastain now told Net-a-Porter.

The “355” actress continued to give the 411 on the behind-the-scenes details of the night, saying, “So many people after [the award ceremony] were coming up to me and they could see how genuinely surprised I was. I’m used to just putting my head down.”

Rock was onstage to announce the winner of Best Documentary at the awards ceremony; Smith assaulting him interrupted the presentation and “tainted” the win for “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised,” according to producer Joseph Patel.

“Once we realized the Chris Rock/Will Smith interaction wasn’t a bit, everything got turned upside down,” Patel tweeted. “Everyone was still trying to make sense of it when Chris persevered and started to read the nominees.”

Patel continued, “I think what Will did was selfish. It robbed the category of its moment. It robbed the other excellent and amazing films of their moment to be acknowledged in what was a STRONG year for docs. And it robbed ‘Summer of Soul’ and our team of our moment. Of a loud, enthusiastic cheer for a celebrated film.”

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