And the Oscar goes to…

Published 11:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

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Dang, Will Smith! Way to go, turning the Oscars into an in-flight brawl on Southwest.


During this time in which the entire globe is attuned to the horrors of the suffering in Ukraine, leave it to Hollywood to divert away attention—just a few seconds—with the global broadcast of the Oscars, showing Will Smith striding purposefully towards Chris Rock in order to open-hand slap him across the face as admonishment for making a joke at his wife’s expense.

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Seriously, Will—did you really think that Jada needed you to settle this score in such a violent and reckless manner? We don’t fight duels anymore for dishonoring ones’ wife. We call lawyers—wake up! For Pete’s sake it’s the Oscars—not the Oscar De La Hoyas.


If you missed it, as I did, until viewing footage of the event, it appears for the second time, Chris Rock (who has made a documentary of the lengths that African American women go to for their hairstyles) made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s baldness—the result of a devastating autoimmune illness known as alopecia. Mrs Smith has been both candid and public about the emotional devastation of watching her hair fall out in clumps and realizing it may never grow back. I think any woman who has suffered this, or can even imagine such a thing, would be naturally empathetic. And, hopefully, men would be as well. When the camera panned to Jada, she looked disgusted, and rolled her eyes. It may have been this expression which catapulted Will from his seat to confront Chris.


What has been fascinating to watch, however, is public opinion regarding the manner: “Chris Rock deserved it!” “Will Smith was out of line!” “I would have punched Chris if it were me!” “Violence is never acceptable!!” The dynamics of this event deserve to be discussed in every sociology class from this day forward. 


What was astonishing to me were those who immediately rushed forward to sooth and support Will after his attack upon Chris. I saw no one approach Chris, to make sure he was uninjured.


What was even more astonishing was the standing ovation Will received after winning his Academy Award. Was that from honest appreciation of his work as an actor, or support for attacking Chris ‘who had it coming?’


And I can’t help but to approach this entire fiasco with yet another twist. What if what had happened at the Oscars had happened between two women? What if one of the female hosts of the evening, Amy Schumer, made a swipe at Best Actress nominee, Nichole Kidman’s husband, the musician Keith Urban’s flat-ironed hair style or use of botox? Had Ms Kidman left her seat in outrage, stomped up to the stage and slapped Ms Schumer across the face, would she have been immediately embraced and attended to for the distress she must have felt? Would she have earned a standing ovation should she have won an Oscar?


Er…no. Call me a maverick, but I’m pretty sure she would have been branded a crazy nut job and future job offers would be shut off like a spigot. Such a display would be humorously dubbed a ‘cat fight’ and countless memes showing uncontrollable female hysteria would abound. Jokes about it would be peppered throughout the 2023 telecast.


In the meantime, thanks a lot, Will Smith. Thanks a lot for adding a new box that we Americans can now tick to describe violent behavior renowned within our country: road rage, airline rage, mass shootings, and now… Oscar rage.