Opinion: A set-up? whatever 'that' was, it shouldn't have happened at the Oscars

A set up? Whatever 'that' was it shouldn't have happened at the Oscars… | Soho House

Take it elsewhere, boys, the Academy Awards is no place for petty scraps, says Hanna Hanra

Monday 28 March 2022 By Hanna Hanra

In an Oscars® ceremony that already made me feel like I was watching it on acid – Chalamet’s chest. Kristen Stewart’s shorts. Jamie Lee Curtis’s rescue dog. Tony Hawk? – one moment has been talked about more than any other. No, not Amy Schumer being lowered onto the stage dressed as Spider-Man, but the moment that a live bitch fight between two men in tuxedos happened right on stage. 

Announcing the winner for Best Documentary, comedian Chris Rock made an (admittedly crap) joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, comparing it to Demi Moore’s buzzcut in G.I. Jane, a film that probably only exists on a DVD in your local charity shop. The audience groaned and Will Smith got up out of his seat, purposefully walked on stage, and presented Rock with a quick, hard slap. It was difficult to tell if it was part of the intro – was it a joke, should we laugh? Is Schumer going to appear in her Spidey costume again and break them up? Could it be the start of a dance routine? No. Smith slapped him and then went back to his seat. It was, we can all agree, a low blow on Rock’s part, Pinkett-Smith has spoken about shaving her hair after suffering from alopecia.
A set up? Whatever 'that' was it shouldn't have happened at the Oscars… | Soho House
A set up? Whatever 'that' was it shouldn't have happened at the Oscars… | Soho House
Stunned – in both senses – Rock announced to those who had been too busy rooting in the goody bags to witness it that ‘Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me.’ And by way of explanation, the actor retorted, ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.’ 

In any normal circumstances, anywhere not an awards ceremony that at one point was watched by, let’s say millions of people, Smith would have surely been dragged outside by a big, burly man and the door shut behind him. But instead, he and his wife pulled off a performance worthy of an Oscar®, of ‘nothing happened, all is fine thank you very much’. Fifteen minutes later he would actually win an Oscar®, for playing a man who ‘fiercely defended his family’. Is it life imitating art? Or just a big angry man? 

Anyway, let’s not talk about men anymore. They can go and scrap it out round the back in the parking lot. The actual highlight of the Oscars® came at the end of the night, when Lady Gaga gently took a wheelchair-bound Liza Minnelli’s hand and introduced her as ‘a true show business legend’. Bathed in the spotlights, Minnelli stumbled over her cue cards. ‘Don’t worry, I gotcha,’ whispered Gaga. ‘Oh good,’ Minnelli replies, before gazing into the singer’s eyes and saying, ‘I’m so glad I’m here with you. I’m your biggest fan.’ The two-minute 30 segment has all the drama, love, glitz and glam of any film nominated for an Oscar® – yet all we can talk about is one man and his fist. Maybe the movie industry hasn’t moved on as much as we think. But hey, that’s show business. 



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