There is a dizzying amount of damage control and chaos still unfolding from the wreckage of the now most infamous Oscar ceremony on record.
The more time people have had to process Will Smith’s shocking assault on Chris Rock on March 27, the angrier many have become at Smith for hijacking Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. Not only did he ravage his own golden moment — winning best actor — but he robbed the Oscar hosts, other nominees and winners and the live and TV audiences of enjoying what should have been a purely celebratory evening.
The latest twist in this surreal saga came April 1, when Smith announced he was resigning from the Motion Picture Academy, calling his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and acknowledging the hurt he’s foisted on all involved. He said he’d accept any additional disciplinary actions the Academy’s Board of Governors plans to impose.
But let’s face it: He smartly beat the Academy to the punch, because I heard he was almost certainly going to be expelled. What’s the Academy going to do now — forbid him from attending and presenting the best actress prize at next year’s awards show? No one believes his Oscar is going to be rescinded, because that’s unprecedented and he deserved it. Everyone is heaping tons of criticism on the Academy for its lack of action on Oscar night, so the organization’s reputation continues to suffer.
On April 1, five days after the Oscars, Questlove, whose directorial debut, “Summer of Soul,” won the documentary award — presented by Rock right after the Smith debacle — tweeted, “Can we FINNNNNNNALY stop talking about it?” But there is zero chance that this catastrophe is going to die down anytime soon.
Put aside all that we witnessed and know to be true — Smith walking onstage, slapping Rock after the comedian dropped a tasteless “G.I. Jane” joke about Smith’s wife, Jada, and shouting profanities at him after taking his seat — there continues to be murkiness and unanswered questions about all that transpired.
The most vital piece of missing information is what exactly triggered Smith to snap in that split second between our seeing him on camera laughing at Rock’s joke and then deciding to assault him. Did his wife, who can be seen scowling and rolling her eyes at the joke, say something to him in the aftermath or did Smith simply see the angry look on her face and head for Rock?
I’d love to know if ABC actually captured that moment on camera, and if so, why hasn’t it been released? Smith needs to come clean soon in an interview to answer pertinent questions such as this. There’s much speculation that he will sit down with Oprah Winfrey (or someone of her caliber). A lot of us would also like to hear the actor explain precisely what compelled him to go to Vanity Fair’s post-Oscar party and not head straight home and reflect on all the harm his out-of-control actions had just inflicted. So, apologies to Questlove, but this mess will continue to be a hot topic of conversation for the foreseeable future.