The Academy has released a statement saying they condemn Will Smith's actions against Chris Rock at last night's Oscars ceremony and will launch an inquiry.

At Sunday night's 94th Oscars awards, Smith hit comedian Rock on stage after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

The statement from 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.”

The incident happened after Rock joked about Pinkett Smith's hair loss, which is due to alopecia.

“Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” Rock siad.

Smith walked up on stage and  hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Smith apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected who won his first Academy Award for King Richard.

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.”

The Northern Echo: Smith broke down in tears during his acceptance speech for King Richard (PA)Smith broke down in tears during his acceptance speech for King Richard (PA)

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.”