Presenting the award for Best Documentary, Rock joked, “Jada I love you, ‘GI Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it.”
The camera snapped to Pinkett Smith, who rolled her eyes as she sat next to Smith.
“That was cool,” said Rock, apparently responding to the joke that didn’t go well.
Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss
Then Rock said, “Oh ah,” and laughed as Smith walked toward him onstage and seemed to hit Rock in the face.
According to CNN reporter Stephanie Elam, who was in the audience, you might hear Rock hitting. Twice during the incident, Smith said, according to Elam, “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth!”
“Oh, wow,” replied Rock.
To viewers at home, observers muted the verbal part of the exchange between Rock and Smith.
“That was the greatest night in the history of television,” said Rock.
CNN has reached out to Smith’s publicist for comment.
Shawn “Diddy” Combs stepped onto the stage moments later and told Smith and Rock that they would settle things “like family” later.
Weeping accepted the award for his role as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard”. Smith said Williams “was a fierce advocate for his family.”
Smith said, “I know to do what we do, you have to be able to take offense and get people to talk about you. In this business, you have to have people who don’t respect you. And you have to smile and pretend it’s okay.”
Smith also spoke about being a “protector” and thanked the tennis legends and their families.
Smith shared that before his victory, fellow candidate Denzel Washington shared some wisdom with him: “In your extreme moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Smith ended by saying that he hoped the Academy would welcome him again.
“Travel geek. Incurable music expert. Food maven. Troublemaker. Lifelong student. Avid tv junkie.”