On Sunday night, history was made as Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar and Troy Kotsur became the first Deaf man to win an acting Oscar — these awards are among the many that made history. Unfortunately, many of these triumphs were undermined by a single altercation during the ceremony.
Even after all of the scandals of award shows past, Sunday night’s Oscars have given us another internet-shattering moment that had “what just happened” trending on Twitter.
The short version of the story is that Chris Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s short hair while on the Oscars stage. This prompted Will Smith to defend his wife — who suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that can cause extreme hair loss — and walk on stage to smack Rock in the face. He then proceeded to walk off stage and yell, “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”
ABC decided to edit the audio during this moment in the show, but it wasn’t hard to find clips online of the uncensored altercation. As more people were watching exactly what happened, the opinions started flooding in. Was it something to laugh about or take seriously? Who was in the wrong? How should the Academy go about addressing this moment?
Much of the controversy is focused on whether Smith’s violence was uncalled for or not. It is public knowledge that Smith’s wife, Jada, suffers from alopecia. Was Rock’s joke calling Jada the next G.I. Jane crossing the line?
Following the awkward tension that came from the actors’ disagreement (to put it lightly), Smith won one of the biggest awards of the night — Best Actor for his performance in “King Richard.” In his acceptance speech, Smith denounced his actions stating that “love will make you do crazy things.” He went on to crack a joke about his hopes that the Academy will invite him back next year.
Obviously, the Academy had a lot of crisis management to do following the show. However, the rumors that Smith’s award might be withdrawn for violating their code of conduct may not have been the best solution. After all, the Academy never failed to award known sexual abusers such as Harvey Weinstein.
After all of the commotion that this one moment of television has caused, we must remember that celebrities are not immune to spouts of anger or mistaken words. While many deeply dissected “the smack” and its consequences, some took to Twitter to make light of the situation and give us all something to laugh about. Here are a few of our favorite tweets from Sunday night.
All in all, we hope that Smith and Rock’s brief dispute does not define the 94th Academy Awards because there is much to celebrate from this year’s Oscars.