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How Oscars 2022 Became Worthy Of Our Scrutiny

The 94th Academy Awards witnessed a heated altercation between a profound actor Will Smith and his counterpart Chris Rock. This episode overshadowed the Oscars ceremony as it became the talk of the town among film critics and social media.

Smith, who got nominated for his performance of Richard Williams in "King Richard," slapped Rock because he made a joke on his wife's shaven head. The incident occurred when the comedian Chris Rock began roasting some of the nominees and made fun of Jada Pinkett-Smith. He said, referring to the 1997 film, "G.I. Jane" in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head – "Jada, I love you. 'G.I. Jane II,' can't wait to see it,". 

Initially, it was unclear whether Rock was aware of Jada's medical condition, about which she had talked openly in 2018 on her show Red Table Talk. She said that "it was terrifying when it first started. One day, I was in the shower and just had handfuls of hair in my hand. It was one of those times in my life that I was shaking with fear."

On Smith realizing that this tasteless jibe didn't amuse his wife, he stood up and walked towards Rock and threw an audible smack. The comedian Rock did not see that one coming. In quick response, he said, "Oh, wow! Wow! Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me." 

As the audience laughed, thinking the act was scripted, Will Smith returned to his seat and shouted - "Keep my wife's name out of your f*****g mouth," which became the most recounted phrase in the history of the Oscar ceremony. On hearing this, many actors in the audience gasped or went silent. This occurrence thickened the air for most of the attendees. Rock struggled to retrieve the situation and get the show back on track. "That was the greatest night in television history," he said to the fading whistles and applause.

Later, when Smith was awarded an Oscar for his performance as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in "King Richard," presented a tearful apology for his misdemeanor by stating that "Art imitates life... I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things." Smith, who laced his speech with religious references, also told the audience what fellow nominee Denzel Washington said to him earlier; "At your highest moment, be careful; that's when the devil comes for you."

Before leaving the stage, he said – "I hope the Academy invites me back." The Academy did not say whether Smith would be invited back for future shows but stated on Twitter, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form." In a recent development, The Academy has also said that they will review the matter and explore further action and consequences according to the Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law.

Although Will Smith's apology came through his social media post on Instagram apologizing to the comedian for slapping him. He also mentioned in his post that his behavior was "unacceptable and inexcusable" and that "I was out of line and I was wrong." Smith clarified that jokes about him were a part of his job, but jokes about his wife Jada's alopecia were out of line, which led to his emotional outburst.

The statement was published after the film academy suggested it might take action against Smith for an accident that overshadowed the industry's top awards. According to the behavior policy, it is "against any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination," expected of the members to preserve the ideals "of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that nurtures creativity." If violated, it might lead to suspension or expulsion from the organization, cancellation of the Oscars, or loss of eligibility for future awards.

 Meanwhile, artists like Tiffany Haddish and Jaden Smith supported Will's actions; several others condemned the Smith-Rock row. Some critics called the joke disrespectful and inappropriate because it was on a person's body image, which is not a subject to ridicule. Besides this, some suggest there was no need for physical violence. Smith tried to justify his actions by asserting that "Love makes you do crazy things." 

There has been no report filed on the situation from Rock's management team, but Los Angeles Police Department shared a statement with the press sharing that the individual involved has declined to file a report. Still, if they desire to, at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigation, which may cost Smith's outstanding reputation in Hollywood.


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