If Will Smith had slapped one of the female hosts at last night’s Oscars, onstage in front of millions, would there even be a debate about consequences?
Then again … Hollywood wonders why most Americans find it hypocritical.
And Academy leaders wonder how to reverse the struggle for eyeballs and relevance.
Surely this is not the water-cooler moment they had in mind.
Picture it: Smith rises from his seat, strides to the stage and, in a premeditated attack, strikes Amy Schumer or Wanda Sykes across the face — over a joke! — then walks off with a smirk, a “look-at-what-a-man-I-am” swagger, and proceeds to curse and threaten further violence.
Smith would have been escorted from his seat and removed from the theater. A-listers would have rushed to console the victim. Smith’s category might have been announced off air, his much-longed-for Best Actor Oscar revoked.
Or so one would hope.
This is, after all, the organization that gave Roman Polanski an Oscar, along with a standing ovation, in 2003. This is the town that turned a blind eye to Harvey Weinstein for decades.
And they thought Volodymyr Zelensky could benefit from their halo effect!
All the codes Smith violated last night — aside from decency and humanity — were put in place by the Academy post-#MeToo. Apparently the rules don’t apply if the victim happens to be another black man.
Seriously: What kind of message does this arrogant, virtue-signaling organization think it’s sending?
How could his peers give Smith a standing ovation after he assaulted Chris Rock?
Regrettably, Judd Apatow deleted his tweet stating the obvious: “He could have killed him.”
What if Rock had been knocked down and hit his head? Bob Saget — whom the snobbish Academy excluded from the “In Memoriam” tribute — died that way (allegedly).
And because it hasn’t been said enough, Rock was the epitome of class last night.
After making a toothless joke about Jada Pinkett Smith resembling Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane,” Rock kept his cool after getting sucker-smacked, and after Smith threatened Rock from his seat, twice — “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!” — attempting to humiliate him.
Like the pro he is, Rock humiliated Smith. “Wow, dude,” Rock said. “It was a ‘G.I. Jane’ joke.” Yes: It was just a joke.
But now we’ve seen behind the mask. Smith has spent decades crafting an affable, family-guy persona. How quick he was to violence.
If Smith behaves like this on live TV, in front of his bosses and peers, on a global telecast — well, one wonders what he’s like behind closed doors.
And not for nothing, but this is a couple that has made their most intimate problems public. The excuse of “defending your wife” is less convincing when you’ve already discussed open marriage and Jada’s affair with her son’s friend and Will’s visit to a tantric sex expert after one of their separations. It’s also retrograde and sexist — the idea that “the little woman” can’t stand up, or speak, for herself.
When you commodify all your dirty laundry, whether in a memoir or on a Facebook show, you don’t get to act like your dignity’s been violated.
As Rebel Wilson quipped while hosting the BAFTAs: “I thought [Smith’s] best performance over the past year was being okay with all his wife’s boyfriends!”
Adding literal insult to injury, the Academy let Smith accept his Oscar. His speech was a disgrace.
“I’m being called on in my life to love people and protect people and be a river to my people,” Smith said in part. “I want to be a vessel for love … I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
No apology to Rock.
“Love will make you do crazy things,” Smith said. Anyone who has ever dealt with an abuser knows what that’s code for: “It was all your fault. You made me do that.”
Yet Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry all jumped out of their seats to comfort Smith. Of course, one could argue they were trying to calm him down, but I’d say that’s a job for security.
Not that security was anywhere to be found.
As usual, the Academy waited to assess public opinion — hot tip: it’s not good — before debating whether to revoke Smith’s Oscar.
Please. Like they have the guts. Certainly not after Smith was greeted like a conquering hero at all of last night’s parties. Rock, meanwhile, was offered Academy-sponsored therapy!
FUBAR doesn’t begin to cover it.
There should absolutely be consequences here. Most obviously, Smith should not be permitted, as per custom, to present next year’s award for Best Actress. If the Academy wants to send a message about violence, that’s a no-brainer.
Then again, Weinstein was God, Polanski didn’t commit “rape-rape” and Woody Allen was a genius with some minor eccentricities.
Consider that, as of 2024, the Academy won’t nominate any film for Best Picture that doesn’t meet its quota of gay, disabled or persons of color in specific departments. Ever righteous is the Academy.
But sure, unprovoked violence — it’ll reward that.