Will Smith stormed the stage of the Oscars and hit Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

The actor - who was nominated in the Best Actor category and subsequently won - took 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 experiences with hair loss 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 hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: "Keep my wife's name out of your f****** mouth."

Rock was shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the Best Documentary Feature category.

He said: "That was the greatest night in the history of television."

During his acceptance speech, Smith apologised saying, "I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

"I am a fierce defender of my family."

Smith said he had been speaking to Denzel Washington just before he was named Best Actor. He said that Washington told him: "At your highest moment, that's when the Devil comes for you."

He continued: "This is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people."

"Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things."

"I hope the Academy invites me back."

In a tweet after the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wrote: "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 (LAPD) said no police report has yet been filed following the altercation.

"LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme," an LAPD spokesperson 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."

The Winners in Full:

Best Picture
CODA

Best Director
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Actor in a Leading Role
Will Smith, King Richard

Actress in a Supporting Role
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Actor in a Supporting Role
Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best International Feature Film
Drive My Car, Japan

Best Documentary Feature
Summer of Soul, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein

Best Animated Feature Film
Encanto, Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino, Clark Spencer

Best Original Screenplay
Belfast, Kenneth Branagh

Best Adapted Screenplay
CODA, Sian Heder

Best Original Score
Dune, Hans Zimmer

Best Original Song
No Time to Die, Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell (No Time to Die)

Best Live Action Short Film
The Long Goodbye, Aneil Karia, Riz Ahmed

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Queen of Basketball, Ben Proudfoot

Best Animated Short Film
The Windshield Wiper, Alberto Mielgo, Leo Sanchez

Best Cinematography
Dune, Greig Fraser

Best Visual Effects
Dune, Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, Gerd Nefzer

Best Production Design
Dune, Zsuzsanna Sipos, Patrice Vermette

Best Sound
Dune, Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett

Best Film Editing
Dune, Joe Walker

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, Justin Raleigh

Best Costume Design
Cruella, Jenny Bevan

Additional reporting: Press Association