Ross: An unplanned moment of silence from Will Smith at the Oscars
There were two moments of silence at the Oscars last night: A planned moment of silence for Ukraine, and a more unplanned moment when Will Smith jumped on stage and sucker-slapped Chris Rock for a joke about his wife’s shaved head.
Jada Pinkett Smith shaves her head because of her alopecia, and Chris Rock, who was on stage as a presenter, caught her eye and joked that she was up for a role in “GI Jane 2.”
Smith didn’t like that and charged the stage. ABC quickly cut the audio. However, Japanese and Australian broadcasts just let it roll, airing the affair in its entirety, F-words included.
I’m surprised ABC didn’t yank the video, because who knows what might have happened next – but as it turns out Will Smith went back to his seat and after a brief heated exchange, he seemed to be OK.
Immediately, the speculation began on Twitter: What if after this, Will Smith actually wins for best actor in “King Richard.” And sure enough, he did.
At that point I’m thinking – aha! That’s how you boost ratings for the Oscars.
But the moment he started his acceptance speech, you knew this was unplanned and that he was winging it.
“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he said. “Art imitates life — I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
What we saw last night was a situation frequently seen in police reports: Two men at a party, one tells a joke about a wife or girlfriend that goes too far, and the other man throws a punch.
But in this case, a friend stepped in to calm things down.
“Denzel [Washington] said to me, ‘at your highest moment be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you,'” Smith continued.
And the attacker apologized.
You can debate whether it was a sincere apology or merely cringeworthy, but it happened.
Nobody was badly hurt, there were no arrests, and we all saw that – at least among people whose careers depend on public approval – de-escalation is possible.
Even if you don’t share my opinion, you have to admit it was worth it, even if only to set up Oscars co-host, Amy Schumer.
“Did I miss anything?” she asked as she returned to the stage.
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