Here’s the Truth About Nicole Kidman Photo Being Circulated as Reaction Shot to Will Smith’s Oscars Slap

The reaction shot of Nicole Kidman quickly became ubiquitous on Twitter and elsewhere, with many claiming it was linked to Will Smith's Oscars slap.

Nicole Kidman is seen being surprised at the Oscars

Image via Getty/Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times

Nicole Kidman is seen being surprised at the Oscars

Not long after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars, a reaction shot of Nicole Kidman started making the rounds alongside the claim that it showed the Being the Ricardo actress’ initial response to the still-dominating-headlines incident.

Posited far and wide was that the above image (and others) captured Kidman expressing some form of shock in response to Smith having taken the stage and slapped Rock, who was on hand to present the award for Best Documentary. As has since been pointed out, however, is that any such images of Kidman were actually taken hours earlier.

Nicole Kidman finally trading in the seal clap meme for her Will Smith/Chris Rock slap reaction 😭😭😭 #Oscars

— Joe (@onlyjoekin_) March 28, 2022

Los Angeles Times photographer Myung Chun, who took the pic of Kidman’s quickly-made-viral expression that’s seen at the top of this page, revealed to Vulture on Monday that the photo stems from the non-televised portion of the ceremony. “It appeared that she was excited to see Jessica Chastain across the room,” Chun said. “Kidman then reached out her arms and waved to her with both hands.”

Another pic from the same ceremony moment in question was credited to Robyn Beck and AFP. Beck has since addressed her photo being used in association with the slap, noting in a tweet shared Monday night that it was taken at 3:20 p.m. prior the show’s kickoff. 

The photo of Nicole Kidman reacting at the #Oscars ystrdy had nothing to do with the Will Smith slap. It was taken at 320pm before the show started. Kidman was reacting to seeing someone she knew. #FactCheck

— Robyn Beck (@Robyn_Beck) March 29, 2022

A constant stream of updates, including commentary from a number of familiar industry figures, has followed Sunday night’s ceremony. By Monday night, the King Richard actor—who previously apologized to the Academy in his Best Actor acceptance speech—had shared a lengthy statement on the slap to his Instagram. In it, he apologized to Rock and others for the incident and expressed regret over the moment having “stained” the journey he and his King Richard collaborators had been on together.

Jada, meanwhile, hadn't directly addressed the incident at the time of this writing. On Tuesday, she shared a message about "a season for healing" to her IG.

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