Jessica Chastain said she had to find ‘calmness’ when accepting Oscar after Will Smith slap

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Jessica Chastain has opened up about giving her Oscars acceptance speech moments after Will Smith slapped host Chris Rock.

Chastain picked up the prize for best actress at the 94th Academy Awards in March. During the ceremony, Smith got up on stage and struck Rock across the face after he made a joke at the expense of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head (Pinkett Smith lives with alopecia).

In an interview with Net-A-Porter, Chastain spoke about trying to find “a calmness” after the shocking moment.

“It was a weird night,” she said. “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.”

In her speech, Chastain discussed “discriminatory and bigoted legislation sweeping our country [the USA]”, however, headlines were dominated by the altercation between Smith and Rock.

Smith apologised for the incident and, after resigning as a member of the Academy, had his Oscar privileges revoked for 10 years after an official ruling by the awards body.

Jessica Chastain gave her speech shortly after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars (Getty Images)
Jessica Chastain gave her speech shortly after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars (Getty Images)

In May, Rock made a joke about the Smith incident after Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage in Los Angeles by an audience member.