Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few days, you know all about what happened at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night. There is no need for us to go over the unfortunate events yet again. However, what we can do is discuss the aftermath and the fallout. This one is running and running as more details come out, and more people pile in with their say.
First up is the news that Will Smith was directly asked to leave the awards ceremony but flat-out refused. Smith, 53, won the leading actor award for King Richard not long after he had stormed and slapped Chris Rock for a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife.
The Academy has announced a formal review into the incident, that may result in disciplinary measures. Smith will reportedly be given the chance to provide a written defense to the Academy board ahead of their April 18th meeting. Clearly, the Academy feels that something must be done! And this is something. All this is despite no criminal charges being forthcoming.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”
“…a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.
Mr Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
The incident happened directly before the award for best documentary feature gong which was won by Summer Of Soul. The now Oscar-winning documentary maker Joseph Patel is seriously unhappy with the incident completely overshadowing what should have been a great moment for his team. Patel said the behavior of both men had:
“…stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us.”
The producer said Smith’s actions were “selfish” but added Rock had been an “absolute f****** d***” for his incorrect description of his winning production team and the historic moment.
Summer Of Soul was produced by The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson alongside Patel, Robert Fyvolent, and David Dinerstein.
“What I didn’t hear in that moment walking to stage but was told of afterwards is what Chris Rock said when reading our name from the winner’s card. He said ‘The winner is ‘Summer of Soul… Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson and… 4 white guys.’ WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F***?????”
“The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award. I was ecstatic that I was the 3rd South Asian to win that night – after Riz and Aneil Karia won earlier in the night for The Long Goodbye.
3 South Asians winning on the same night – that’s never happened before! And it’s meaningful! It’s history! I’m a big boy – I can take a joke. Comedians make jokes. But not in that moment. What a shitty, disrespectful thing to do.
So I’m angry. Angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers.”
Learn a lesson here, Hollywood. When you make absolutely everything bout race and identity politics, you are not immune and then EVERYTHING has the potential to be stained by it.
Two-time Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar has also chipped in. He said Will Smith’s Oscars acceptance speech, later in the evening, was:
“…more like that of a cult leader”.
The Spanish director said he refused to let the altercation between Smith and comedian Chris Rock be “the protagonist of the evening” but that it had produced in him “a feeling of absolute rejection”.
One thing is for sure, it will now potentially be a long road back for Will Smith. His carefully cultivated image of a happy-go-lucky, laughing, smiling, and always laid back friend to everyone is permanently damaged.