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Will Smith's Oscars Attack On Chris Rock Drew Surprising Celebrity First Responders

The 2022 Academy Awards included a lot of historic firsts. It was the first time three female hosts emceed the proceedings. It was the first time a deaf male performer won a statue for Best Supporting Actor. It was also the first time a celebrity marched up on stage and full-on slapped one of the presenters across the face.

It was the slap heard round the world. Comedian Chris Rock took the podium and opened with a few comedic takes on the event and those in attendance, one of which landed a little too close to home for the apparently hot-headed Will Smith. Smith did not take kindly to a jibe at wife Jada's expense, and — well — the rest is now Oscars history. 

The altercation stunned the audience along with viewers at home, and for many, the audio of the incident was cut, generating even more confusion. Shortly after the incident, the live event cut to a commercial break, but an attendee at the event took a video on their phone showing what happened immediately after Smith left the stage. Viewers at home didn't get to see the two celebrity first responders who leapt up to attend Will Smith in an apparently successful attempt to calm the performer down.

Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry were at Will Smith's side following the incident

After Smith's assault on Rock following a joke directed at Jada Smith, it wasn't exactly clear what was going on inside the venue. The sound was cut for most viewers, and the cameras weren't showing Smith or his immediate vicinity. Thanks to a recording of the aftermath posted by Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg on Twitter, however, there's a closer look at what happened during the break.

Once Will Smith left the stage, he was approached by both Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who Smith later confirmed during his acceptance speech for Best Actor for the movie "King Richard" were giving him words of comfort in the few moments they had during the commercial break. Smith was visibly distraught for the rest of the night, including during his acceptance speech, but he didn't hit anyone else, so whatever Washington and Perry said to him must have done some good.

During Smith's acceptance speech, he acknowledged Washington and the conversation they had in the immediate aftermath of the attack.