Last Night, I was shutting down my computer when I saw the Rock-Smith story, and dashed out a post at about 1am. Those were literally immediate reactions, and I knew nothing else about the broadcast except that Smith was allowed to stay, and that he later won the Oscar for Best Actor for a movie I didn’t see and am unlikely to, especially after his behavior last night.
I had some additional thoughts after my first coffee this morning.
- Some people are suggesting that the episode was staged, even Ann Althouse, an Oscars fan for some reason. Ann needs to get out more. Trust me on this: it wasn’t staged. I am a stage director; I have staged such things. Actors are notoriously terrible at faking contact, and Chris Rock isn’t exactly a professional stunt man. Smith hit him with the flat of his hand, which saves him from broken bones: if it had been staged, it would have been a fist.
Furthermore, what happens near the beginning of any live show vastly influences the audience’s reaction to the whole evening: if the episode was staged, it would have been at the beginning, otherwise there was no point. That bit of ugliness toward the end clouded the ceremonies both for the live audience and the home audience, and especially undermined Smith’s Best Actor moment. In addition, as Althouse finally convinced herself as she wrote her post, it put Smith’s wife in a bad light as well as the actor, embarrassed Rock, and made no sense except as a temper tantrum (or protective husband grandstanding) by Will Smith. Later, the Academy put out a pro forma statement that it didn’t condone violence, which would have been reasonable coming from anywhere but Hollywood.
- I hadn’t seen what Jada Pinkett Smith looked like at the Oscars when I wrote the post last night, nor heard exactly what Rock said. She has shaved her head…you know, like me. And Bruce Willis. And the TCM co-host, Jacqueline Stewart. See?
I wrote last night that Rock’s joke had been “ill-considered.” I retract that: he was completely innocent. He saw Smith and his wife sitting in the audience and said, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?” OK, so she has been suffering hair loss—big deal—and has talked about it. So what? She could have worn a wig; shaving your head is a choice for a man, and showing a shaved head is a choice for a woman. Demi Moore was “G.I. Jane,” and looked great. See?
It was a mild joke if not a hilarious one. Will Smith was the lone asshole in this incident.
- And as someone who has endured his share of Yul Brenner/ Telly Sevalas jokes—yes, and once during an awards show—What hypocrisy from Hollywood! The three female harpies who were designated as co-hosts chant “Gay, gay, gay!” like three-year-olds to mock what a Florida bill isn’t about, and all of that blathering about a historic win by an openly LGTBQ actress (Oh who cares except GLAAD, and why should anyone else?), and all the progressive chest (breast?)-beating over “antitrans” critics, and yet when an actress who chooses a unisex hair-do is kidded about it, her husband goes nuts….and he isn’t even chastised or punished!
- More (not Moore) on that—but too bad Demi wasn’t at the show—I sympathize with the Academy for not knowing what to do in the seconds it took for Smith to wreck the broadcast. Of course he should have been ejected from the theater, but all these things were going through the producers’ heads, like, “What if his name is read as the winner of Best Actor?” (which it was). No, they didn’t handle it right, but I’ve had time to consider the options, and they did not.
- What should Smith have done to protest Rock’s harmless joke? He should have walked out, along with his presumably offended wife. (But then he wouldn’t have been present if he won! Priorities, priorities….)
- I am amazed, but probably shouldn’t be, that the news media is highlighting the Oscar results and the “Gay” chant (morons) rather than “The Slap.” That breach of decorum, professionalism and law is far more newsworthy than the meaningless awards that once again seemed dictated as much by progressive agendas as excellence.
- The episode won’t kill the Oscars, but should. It ought to be a tipping point. The tinsel is gone. Smith can’t be said to represent all of Hollywood, but these are overwhelmingly petty, vain, over-paid, over-adulated, arrogant, mostly not-too-bright, politically juvenile, narrow-minded creeps who are not worth the public’s time, and certainly not mine.