2022 Oscars Makes Waves for Confrontation, Diversity

The Academy Awards, commonly referred to as The Oscars, premiered on Sunday, March 27. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were hoping that the 16.6 million moviegoers who watched would be excited by the surprises and achievements at last Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, but they probably didn’t think a physical confrontation would happen between two stars, overshadowing the rest of the evening.

Comedian Chris Rock told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, which prompted her spouse, Will Smith, to walk up to the stage and strike Rock across his face while Rock was about to present the documentary award.

Some Cypress Creek students viewed the ceremony and shared their reactions about the confrontation.

¨The jokes Chris Rock made were not the most appropriate for the occasion,” senior Jose Almarza said. “He shouldn’t have said that. Will Smith shouldn’t have gone up there and just slapped him in front of everyone. I don’t think it was handled properly. I used to side with Chris Rock, but hearing more about what he said makes me understand why Will Smith did it, even though I don’t think it was the correct solution.¨

Pinkett Smith has a condition called Alopecia Areata, which according to WebMD causes one’s immune system to attack hair follicles, causing hair loss.

Freshman Dove Dixon shared concerns over Rock’s comment.

¨It was messed up that Chris Rock made a joke about her Alopecia in front of millions of people, live on television,” Dixon said. “That behavior should not be normalized. The consequences of the blatant disregard of her feelings, particularly after she brought up the courage to talk about her traumatic experiences with Alopecia, were wrong for happening. People should stop focusing on the slap, which clearly was not intended to hurt and was instead a show of honor and reputation, but rather focus on the only person who is actually hurt by the situation.¨

Sophomore Nathan Dollosa expressed his opinion on what both of them did wrong.

“The Oscars would’ve gone smooth had Will Smith not let his wife’s expression influence his judgment,” Dollosa said. “On another note, Chris Rock, even though he’s a stand-up comedian, should’ve watched what he said, as there are going to be people (like the Smiths) who would find his jokes offensive. Both Smith and Rock should’ve known better. The Oscars were already going well, and these two just got to ruin it.¨

Freshman Yna Santos was quite strong with her opinion on this situation.

“Why do y’all care so much about rich people’s drama?” Santos said. “Chris Rock was out of line for his comment about her Alopecia. But almost nobody would care about the Oscars if not for that incident because let’s face it, all of those award ceremonies are basically just excuses for rich people to buy ridiculously expensive and ugly outfits and flex on us.¨

Moments later, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor and apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees by saying, “love will make you do crazy things.”

The confrontation was a shocking turn in another otherwise subdued show that featured largely predictable but nonetheless historic results. With the diversity in this year’s crop of Oscar nominees, audiences saw a number of milestones set. “CODA” was the first film produced by a streaming service to win Best Picture. Ariana DeBose became the first queer Black woman to win an acting award, taking home Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story.” And Troy Kotsur of “CODA” became the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting.

The Academy held a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine, who are under attack by Russian forces.

“We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict, and prejudice within their own borders,” an onscreen statement said. “While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water, and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we collectively as a global community can do more,” the text continued. “We ask you to support Ukraine in any way you are able,” the statement added.

The Academy also paid respect to the Indigenous people whose ancestral lands are the current site of where the event took place, the Dolby Theatre.

“The Academy pays respect to the Tongva people as well as the Tataviam and the Chumash people, the original caretakers of the water and land where many of us in the film community live and work,” said Bird Runningwater, Chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance and Academy member, who belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Tribes. “As we honor this year’s best stories in the film, let’s also celebrate the original storytellers, the Indigenous peoples of this region,” he added.

Overall, this incident is a recent example of unplanned events on live TV, but this year’s Oscars also made history for their record-breaking diversity.