Oscars viewers baffled by Liam Payne’s accent in rambling interview

‘Will Smith smacked Chris Rock so hard, Liam Payne’s accent changed,’ one fan joked

Tom Murray
Monday 28 March 2022 15:03 BST
Liam Payne reacts to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at Oscars ceremony

Good Morning Britain viewers were perplexed by Liam Payne’s accent in an interview he gave at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night (27 March).

The ceremony itself was marred by controversy after Will Smith stormed the stage and struck presenter Chris Rock across the face, after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Payne attended the Elton John Foundation Oscars afterparty, where he spoke to GMB about the historic night.

“Will Smith actually used to live behind my house. I've had the pleasure of knowing his son and daughter very well,” he began.

"I believe that he felt whatever he did, he had the right to do. I also felt there were three losers in one fight. He didn't know, being Chris Rock, he didn't do what he had to do, being Will Smith, and she did nothing, being Jada.

Payne continued to say that he had to leave his seat after Smith’s emotional winner’s speech because “it cut me really deep”.

“It’s a very sad thing, but there was a powerful moment for me to sit and watch one of the world’s best emoters ever we’ve seen speak from the heart and I would rather take the beauty out of the situation than take the pain,” he said.

Viewers of the interview were left bemused both by what Payne had to say and his accent, which sounded a far cry from his Wolverhampton roots.

Ciaran Varley tweeted: “Quietly the best piece of content surrounding the Will Smith incident so far: Liam Payne gushing like an LA wellness influencer about 'one of the world's greatest emoters', in a hybrid accent of totally inexplicable origin + managing to drop in that he sold out Madison Sq Garden.”

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Journalist Josh Knapman wrote: “Will Smith smacked Chris Rock so hard, Liam Payne's accent changed.”

Responding to someone questioning why people should care about the Oscars, Channel 4 News correspondent Minnie Stephenson tweeted: “Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on TV and Liam Payne soft launched a completely new accent. THIS IS HUGE.”

“Always good to hear from Liam Payne of Wolverhampton, Netherlands,” another viewer wrote.

At the Oscars, Smith went on to win Best Actor in a Leading Role for his turn as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard.

During his speech, a tearful Smith apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not Rock. Just after the altercation, Smith joked that “you can’t invite people from Philly nowhere” on Instagram and was later seen dancing to his own music at the Vanity Fair after-party.

Find the full list of 2022 Oscar winners here. See the latest updates and reactions from the dramatic ceremony here, and read about the biggest talking points here.

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