John Leguizamo Wishes Will Smith’s Oscars Speech ‘Would’ve Been a Clearer Apology’ to Chris Rock

John Leguizamo Wishes Will Smith’s Oscars Speech ‘Would’ve Been a Clearer Apology’ to Chris Rock

“I think Will is big enough to make up and to really man up and apologize,” Leguizamo told PEOPLE at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party Sunday

John Leguizamo is reflecting on Will Smith’s Best Actor acceptance speech at the 94th Academy Awards, saying he “wish(es) it would’ve been a little clearer apology” to Chris Rock.

PEOPLE spoke with the Encanto voice actor, 57, on Sunday at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, following the ceremony that saw Will, 53, take the stage and strike Rock, 57, across the face after the latter made a hair-related joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

During his acceptance speech later in the show, Will addressed the incident directly, offering an apology to the Academy and his fellow actors for the incident — but failed to mention Rock.

“I think he tried. I wish it would’ve been a little clearer apology to Chris, because the poor guy must be shocked, left the building. So that was kind of unfortunate,” says Leguizamo. “That kind of thing, you just call your friend. You go, ‘Don’t do that to me again, man.’ Call him.”

At one point in his emotional speech, Will said, “I want to be a vessel for love.” In his comments to PEOPLE, Leguizamo says, “Will said he’s a vessel of love. Be a vessel of love then, you know? That was not a vessel of love. That was a vessel of anger. And don’t do that.”

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Will’s win for King Richard came several minutes after he smacked Rock on the Oscars stage after the comedian made a joke about Jada’s hair, saying in part, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.”

After the remark, Jada (who recently opened up about shaving her head as a result of her years-long struggle with alopecia), 50, rolled her eyes, and Will took to the stage and hit Rock. Will returned to his seat and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.”

Of whether he thinks Will and Rock will smooth things over, Leguizamo tells PEOPLE, “I hope so. I think Will is big enough to make up and to really man up and apologize.”

During the incident, though, the Romeo + Juliet actor admits he “didn’t understand what was going on” between Rock and Will and thought, like many around him, that it was a joke.

“You were so confused at the moment that it happened. … Till it all dawned on you like, ‘Oh, that was real.’ That was very unfortunate,” Leguizamo says.

In his Best Actor acceptance speech, Will said through tears, “In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. … I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.”

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he also said. “Art imitates life: I look like the crazy father. Just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

Following the incident, the Academy condemned Will’s actions in a statement: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement obtained by Variety that Rock “has declined to file a police report” following the incident. “If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report,” the statement added.

Representatives for Rock have not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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