A tense situation. Jessica Chastain spoke about the “strange” experience of winning the Oscar after Will Smith’s quarrel with Chris Rock earlier in the night.
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“Well… it was a strange night,” the 45—year-old star of “Scenes from Married Life” told Porter magazine in an interview published on Monday, June 27, when asked about receiving the Oscar for Best Actress for “Tammy Faye’s Eyes.” “In this room, I was faced with a very charged energy and tried to figure out… how to just breathe and create calm.”
Chastain’s momentous moment was overshadowed by an incident that occurred earlier in the night when 53-year-old Smith took to the stage and slapped 57-year-old Rock after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith. The creator of “Everybody Hates Chris” compared the bald head of the “Matrix” actress to “G.I. Jane,” which, according to the Smiths, was a mockery of her alopecia.
Will Smith strikes Chris Rock during the 94th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony on March 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Rob Latour/Shutterstock
The King Richard star, who won his own Oscar shortly before Chastain’s name was announced, tearfully apologized for his actions during his acceptance speech for Best Actor. “In my life, I am called to love people, protect them and be a river for my people,” Smith said at the time. “I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
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The next day, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air graduate issued a statement apologizing to Rock for the incident and explaining that he “wasn’t okay and I was wrong.” As part of his attempt to make amends, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in early April, and was later banned from attending or participating in any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
Jessica Chastain receives her award for Best Actress at the 94th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony on March 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Rob Latour/Shutterstock
Despite the tense atmosphere, Chastain used her performance to talk about suicide prevention and advocate for the support of the LGBTQ+ community, and she told Porter that she knew she wanted to use her time on stage to defend her position. “I lost someone very dear to me because of suicide,” said the “Molly’s Game” actress, referring to her sister Juliet, who committed suicide in 2003. it was clear that we were moving into the area of our policy of intolerance and discrimination.”
She continued, “I didn’t know everything I was going to say, and there were moments when I started showing emotions, so I held them back, but I had an idea of what I wanted to use on this global platform to create if I got up there.”
The Interstellar star, who has long advocated suicide prevention, spoke for the first time about the loss of her sister in December 2014. “It completely changed me,” she told InStyle at the time. “A movie, an Oscar, a dress, if someone thinks I’m stupid… I realized that there is nothing so important.”
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Three years later, Chastain revealed that Juliet had died just three days before she graduated from Juilliard. “The loss of my sister really brought us together as a family,” she told the Belfast Telegraph in December 2017. — When you lose someone, you never want to lose another person again. Even a stranger. That’s why I feel so sorry for people struggling with depression. Because society doesn’t really understand this, they are made to feel selfish.”
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.