Oscar 2022, Will Smith's slap and that dream that cracks

Oscar 2022, Will Smith's slap and that dream that cracks

Oscar 2022

A slap in the face was enough to throw the 2022 Oscars night into chaos. After an edition like last year marked by pandemic restrictions and the most embarrassing boredom, this year the Academy and ABC, the network that broadcasts the event, had prepared a show synchronized in the smallest detail, tense in every second to show how much this evening is still full of show, glamor and relevance. But when Chris Rock, one of the comedians called to introduce an award, called Jada Pinkett-Smith “G.I. Jane ”, a play on G.I. Joe in reference to the actress's baldness due to her alopecia, her husband Will Smith could not resist the urge to stand up and hit Rock in the face, leaving everyone stunned. The doubt that it was a gag was immediately denied by Smith himself who, when he returned to his place, shouted: “Leave my wife's name out of your fucking mouth”.

Too bad that whoever has seen the live American of the evening this last sentence was missed, even if the moment circulates in an integral way on the net thanks to the Australian or Japanese live broadcasts. In its last hour, at the end of an already exhausting ceremony, the atmosphere of these Oscars was dominated by a palpable tension, while the Academy did everything to ignore what had happened and continue as if nothing had happened: only show, glamor and relevance indeed. Too bad that the pantomime fell again when Smith, accepting the award for Best Actor for King Richard, addressed the topic: "I want to apologize to the Academy, to my nominated colleagues," said the moved actor in a mix of emotions: “Art imitates life. I look like a crazy father as they told me and as they told Richard Williams. Love makes you do crazy things ”.

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Slap-gate aside, the presenters Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, a trio formed because no living and sentient soul in Hollywood wanted to individually take the risk of taking the reins of such a risky edition, they went out of their way to keep up an evening that was desperately trying not to be everything she is usually criticized for: boring, self-reported, very long. But like those funny guys who try to impress everyone at middle school parties, the effort was much greater than the desired effect. There were other moments of tension here and there, like the glacial gaze of Jessica Chastain (winner of Best Actress for Tammy Faye's Eyes) when Schumer appeared, or the gag in which Schumer herself gave of the “seat filler”, those extras who hold seats in the stalls for show reasons, to Kristen Dunst, right in front of her husband Jesse Plemons. For fans of these details we also point out the composer Diane Warren visibly opposed to the victory of Billie Eilish with the song No Time To Die and Kristen Stewart who somehow shakes her head at the announcement of Chastain's victory in her own category. br>
In short, despite the attempts of these Oscars 2022 to be the celebration of Hollywood as a big family that returns to reunite after a difficult period, the cracks in the wall were evident and quite worrying. The fact that for weeks many professionals had been on the run with the Academy for its decision to pre-record eight technical categories (such as editing and photography) to streamline an evening that was nevertheless mileage, makes it clear that the family has its good clothes. dirty to wash at home. Not to mention the fact that Best Picture winner, Coda, delivered the most coveted statuette for the first time in history to a streaming platform, Apple Tv +; the same would have happened if she had won The Power of the Dog, super favorite on the eve but then almost completely snubbed if not for the victory of Jane Campion as best director, which was a Netflix movie. In short, good old Hollywood has brought the enemy home and now exhibitors are more worried than ever, while the majors industry is looking for a new direction and theaters are increasingly empty, due to the aftermath of the pandemic and more.

The director and the cast of Coda make the sign of victory in sign language, holding the Oscars Allen Schaben / Getty Images It wasn't just an evening of frowning faces, anyway. The victories of actors such as Ariana DeBose, the first person of Afro-Latin and queer descent to win Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story, and Troy Kotsur, the first deaf actor to achieve recognition for Coda, are firsts that warm the heart and are part of an all too gradual path in giving fair representation to all minorities: “Here you see a queer woman of color, openly queer, an Afro-Latin woman who has found her life force through art. This is what I believe we are here to celebrate, "said the actress as she collected her award:" Anyone who has questioned their identity or finds themselves living in a gray area: this is really the place to be. ". Kotsur's thanks then moved everyone, even his sign language interpreter, especially when he remembered his father who was paralyzed by an accident and therefore unable to communicate with him: "This award is dedicated to the deaf community, to the community of CODA [children of deaf adults, children of deaf parents, ed] and the disabled community ".

The Oscars are always a very complicated show to put together: not only the aspects of cinema to celebrate are innumerable, but Hollywood also has to flex its muscles, as young people say, in every possible way. This evening was a constant reminder of how beautiful and powerful the film tool is, from a tribute to the 70 years of The Godfather (which no one has noticed, because immediately after the Schiaffo-gate) to the ballet of Uma Thurman and John Travolta for the 28 years of Pulp Fiction or new popular awards, such as the Fan's Favorite which went to Army of the Dead, to which the audience responded with a faint applause. However, reality always bursts to burn the film, even the most magical one. At one point, the entire audience of the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles observed a minute of silence in homage to the victims of the conflict in Ukraine. We are living in times that are perhaps too tragic to be able to fully believe in the constant dream of a happy Hollywood ending, however cinema, even the one that does not go through the Oscars, is there to remind us that another world is possible.

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