Ross: An unplanned moment of silence from Will Smith at the Oscars

Mar 28, 2022, 6:36 AM | Updated: 12:30 pm
Will Smith, Chris Rock, Oscars...
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Dave Ross

Ross: Oh no, the capital gains tax could downgrade my yacht purchase

It’s humiliating! I’d have to settle for the Majesty 100 yacht. Now instead of 180 feet, I have to shoehorn my guests into 100 feet?
11 hours ago
Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Helping others through loss with empathy, care, and memory

Death, loss, and grief are hard things, so when we see others dealing with them sometimes our instinct is to turn away.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: NCAA should bring back consolation games in March Madness

J. Paul Blake wrote to Dave Ross saying that the NCAA needs to bring the consolation game back for March Madness.
4 days ago
Dodge Challenger...
Dave Ross

Ross: Dodge Challenger Demon with optional parachute still street legal

Even if police pursuits were routine again, there’d be no catching you behind the wheel of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170.
5 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Speculating potential Trump charges as country awaits indictment

"I think the charges they are going to make against Trump here is something like falsifying business records," Farenthold said.
6 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: There’s a limit to compassion that we should have in the courts

It’s important to try new things – like a compassionate court – but it’s just as important to recognize it's doing more harm than good.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Ross: An unplanned moment of silence from Will Smith at the Oscars