An Academy Awards to remember: “The Slap Heard Around the World”

An Academy Awards to remember: “The Slap Heard Around the World”

Jake Schachter, Staff Writer

The 2022 Academy Awards were expected to be underwhelming, as the pandemic limited the typical quality and quantity of award-winning films this year.  Instead, the Oscars were anything but that.  The incident between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock involving Smith’s wife made this Oscars one to remember.

“It didn’t seem like it was going to be a very exciting year for the Oscars with not many notable films coming out this year and nobody going to see movies in theaters anymore,” said sophomore Ava Lucarelli.

Before the show, celebrities showed off their outfits on the red carpet.  As usual, the nominees and presenters wore elegant and dramatic clothes.  Vogue named actress Kristen Stewart the best dressed at the award show in her Chanel outfit.  A close runner up was Zoë Kravitz in a Saint Laurent gown.  Zendaya’s modern look by Valentino was also praised.  However, many celebrities were also criticized for their fashion fails, such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Billie Eilish.  

The Academy Awards were hosted by three comedians: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall.  One change with this year’s Oscars was an attempt to make the show’s runtime shorter.  The Academy decided to cut nine awards from the main show and give them out offscreen. Many people were upset by this decision, as they wanted the people who won the awards offscreen to get the same respect as those who won live. The runtime wasn’t even very short in the end, with the Oscars taking 3 hours and 42 minutes to finish, not the result the academy wanted.

 

Later in the evening, Chris Rock took the stage to give out an award and he made some jokes along the way. One of these jokes include a joke about Will Smith’s wife and her condition which makes her bald.  At first, Will Smith seemed to laugh at the joke while his wife looked annoyed.  Then, a few moments later, Smith marched to the stage, as Chris Rock expected to make a couple of jokes with him.  But then, Smith shocked viewers by slapping Rock hard, yelling insults that were quickly cut out for television viewers. Rock was obviously very shaken up by the slap and made a joke to keep the show moving.  After this event, the entire show’s mood changed.

“Everything was going smoothly and it was actually quite boring until it happened,” said sophomore Lauren Young. 

The fallout from the infamous slap has been intense. Will Smith ironically won Best Actor just a few moments later and was put on the spot to make an apology speech after his fellow actors calmed him down. During Smith’s speech, he preached his desire to be a vessel of love which contradicts the message he showed during the slap. Many people, both actors and audiences, critiqued Smith because the outburst was inappropriate and humiliating for the Academy.  Twitter users created memes of the incident that went viral in an instant.  The next day, Smith issued an apology on Instagram to the Academy and Rock.  A few days later, Smith resigned from the Academy. Now, the academy has suspended Smith from attendance for the next ten years. 

While this incident certainly defined the night, there were also many big wins that deserve recognition.  Some notable awards were Troy Kotsur’s win for Best Supporting Actor in the film CODA.  Kotsur was the first deaf actor to win the award, a major accomplishment for the deaf community.  

“It was great to see Troy Kotsur’s acceptance speech.  It was so inspiring,” said sophomore Lauren Young. 

 

The popular family movie Encanto won Best Animated Feature’ film.  This came as no surprise, as the film was one of Disney’s best works in a while.  

Encanto was my favorite nominated film,” said sophomore Sam Levine.

Dune took home six Oscars that night, including Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Editing, and Best Effects.  CODA won Best Picture, making history as the first film debuting on a streaming service to win an Oscar.  Best Actress went to Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Popular singer Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won their first Academy Award for Best Original Song.  With this award, the two of them are halfway toward winning an EGOT, the title designated for those who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.  The singer/songwriter pair have won seven Grammy awards in the past.

 

The events that went down at the 2022 Academy Awards will certainly make it a show to remember.  Although the “slap heard around the world” is certainly notable, the historic wins were also major highlights for underrepresented communities.