The 2022 Oscars: Snubs, Surprises, & Slaps
On March 27th, 2022, millions of people tuned in to see if their favorite films and stars had taken the coveted trophy home with them. The red carpet was filled with many celebrities wearing countless designer outfits as they marched over to the awards ceremony that exudes nothing short of class. Unfortunately for the Academy, there is one moment that was seen as being the epitome of classlessness.
Will Smith, nominated for and eventual winner of the Best Actor category, was sitting in the audience when Chris Rock walked onto the stage to do his bit for the show. He poked fun at Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz, nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively, for trouble in paradise if Bardem won the Oscar and she didn’t. Things took a turn when Rock aimed his jokes at Jada Pinkett Smith’s look saying that he was ‘excited to see her in G.I. Jane 2’. Will was seen laughing and Jada rolled her eyes, but a few minutes later Will calmly walked onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock. Rock and the audience were clearly shocked by the altercation, while the looming question rang in the air if this was a bit. However, by the time Will was shouting “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth,” it proved to everyone at home and in the studio that it was not a bit. In other words, this year's ceremony was flipped, upside down by Smith’s little fight.
To give a little back story, Jada Pinkett Smith just revealed that she has alopecia, a disease where the hair follicles are not strong enough and results in bald spots or hair loss. While Rock’s joke was tasteless, it does not condone the fact that Will Smith walked onto the stage and assaulted Chris Rock. Rock stated he is not pressing charges, and Smith tried to clear up the altercation slightly when he received his Oscar for Best Actor. His win came only a few minutes after the slap, proving both ironic and even more ammunition for the Twitter snipers to create more iconic and comical memes of the altercation. Smith apologized to his nominees and the Academy for what had occurred, but it is unfortunate that Will Smith’s Best Actor nod is overshadowed by what had happened a few minutes earlier. He has since apologized publicly to Chris Rock, but again, his actions have proven to have tainted the Oscars.
One question that loomed in the air after watching this occur on live TV was where was security when this was going on. Will Smith casually walked onto the stage, slapped Chris Rock, and casually sauntered back to his seat in less than two minutes. Understandably, this was a quick altercation, but it even looked like Rock was looking around to figure out what should happen next. It is something that should have never happened, but it seems odd that no one thought it was weird that Smith could casually saunter onto the stage without being detected. There should’ve been someone near the stage to refrain anyone from walking onto the stage that should not have been. Then again, the Oscars have never had to deal with someone starting a potential fight on the stage before.
Onto the snubs and surprises of the evening, Dune dominated the show by taking home six Oscars. It was inevitable that it would lose Best Picture since the Academy has failed to give science fiction films recognition, but it managed to pull off winning the well-deserved Best Cinematography category. The film was cinematically and aesthetically stunning as it managed to transport the audience into countless settings that were just all in all incredible. Best Picture was given to CODA, a touching and heartfelt film that focused on a child of deaf adults (CODA). A well-deserved win for a film that discusses a subject that has not been broached in the film industry beforehand. Jessica Chastain ultimately won the Best Actress title for her stellar role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which chronicles the life of televangelist Tammy Faye as she falls from grace. Even though Chastain had won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, the conversation was not circling her as much as her other fellow nominees, making her win a slight surprise. Nonetheless, she was able to portray the role of Tammy Faye excellently.
The biggest snub of the evening was towards the film, The Power of the Dog. Coming into the Oscars with 12 nominations, it managed to only win one, and that was for Best Director Jane Campion. Campion’s film was powerful, and to only walk away with one Oscar is a slap in the face and not the kind that Chris Rock received from Will Smith. However, the only consolation towards The Power of the Dog losing many of the artistic categories was to Dune. Dune did deserve to win the Oscars for Best Sound, Production Design, and Cinematography. On the other hand, The Power of the Dog receiving only the Best Director nod was and is insulting to the caliber of work that it had produced for the Academy.
All in all, the Oscars did not cease to surprise the audience in any way. From Jessica Chastain’s surprise win to Will Smith’s shocking slap, this year’s Oscars were filled with excitement from start to end.