Will Smith has been condemned by the Academy as it launched a formal review into his altercation with comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony.
The 94th annual awards show was thrown into chaos when Smith went onstage and hit the comedian in front of a star-studded audience, after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
The incident overshadowed a night which saw Coda, which features a predominantly deaf cast, named best picture, while Troy Kotsur made history as the first deaf male actor to win a gong.
Kenneth Branagh won the best original screenplay prize for his semi-autobiographical film Belfast.
Smith, who won his first Academy Award for King Richard, appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.
The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” prompting the actress to roll her eyes.
However, Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”
The altercation left Rock shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.
In a statement to media on Monday, the film academy said: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show.
“We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
Smith apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father”.
Breaking down in tears, he said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.
“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.
“I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.
“You’ve got to be able have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.
“I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.
“Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”
He concluded by saying he hoped the Academy invited him back in future.
The Academy later said it did not “condone violence of any form” in tweet posted from its official account.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report had been filed after the incident.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme,” a spokesperson for the force told the PA news agency.
“The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.
“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
Oscars showrunner Will Packer later described the altercation as “a very painful moment for me”.
He initially responded to the incident by saying: “Welp… I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars,” a comment that drew some criticism.
He later tweeted: “Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you.
“But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
Family drama Coda, which stands for child of deaf adults, won best picture and best adapted screenplay, while Kotsur made history as he was named best supporting actor.
He dedicated his gong to “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”, adding: “This is our moment.”
West Side Story star Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Anita in the remake of the classic musical, 60 years after her predecessor in the role, Rita Moreno, earned the statuette.
DeBose paid tribute to Moreno in her acceptance speech and celebrated her win as “an openly queer woman of colour… who found her strength in life through art”.
“To anyone who has ever questioned your identity or you find yourself living in the grey spaces… I promise you this, there is indeed a place for us,” she said.
Branagh won the Oscar for his screenplay for Belfast, which is based on his own childhood during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, saying the win was “an enormous honour for my family and a great tribute to an amazing city and fantastic people”.
Jessica Chastain was named best actress for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, while Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won best original song for No Time To Die from the James Bond film of the same name.
Disney juggernaut Encanto was named best animated film, while Dune, an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel, won six Oscars, including best score for composer Hans Zimmer.