Paging Dr. Howard. Dr. Howard?

The Oscars were held Sunday, March 27th, and while it was a slow start, at least it had a slappy ending. Seriously, what a show – the crowd was overcome with slaphter. I mean, I haven’t seen a show like this since a certain Dr. Moe Howard was less than pleased with orderlies Larry and Curly! And the categories! So many close calls; it was a real slug-fest. Fortunately for the losers, many were able to turn the other cheek. We even had our first Best Smacktor award (credit for this one goes to The New York Post) handed out. In all honestly folks, the show was a real slap to the face. One more? It turns out The Worst Person in the World actually did win.

Ok – so, unless you’ve been living under a Rock that wasn’t named Chris, you know what happened at this year’s Academy Awards. Chris Rock came out to present the Oscar for Best Documentary and before listing the nominees, he did a little crowd work, including a hacky joke about a now bald-headed Jada Pinkett-Smith scoring the role for GI Jane 2. Not the funniest joke. What happened next is what everyone’s talking about. Will Smith is seen laughing at the joke, but seconds later, he jumps out of his seat, marches up to Rock on stage, slaps him in the face before returning to his seat and shouting expletives at him about how Rock needs to keep Jada’s name out of his mouth. Rock, visibly flustered, stayed cool, and moved the show along.

In the humble opinion of this People’s Critic, Will Smith was out of line, The Oscars blew it in terms of handling the situation, and Chris Rock is going to have a very successful Comedy Tour this summer. First Will Smith. He clearly is disturbed. He had a choice to ignore this. He had a chance not to stand up. He had a choice not to walk up there. He had a chance to not physically assault a comedian on live television. And he had a choice not to verbally aggravate the situation further afterwards. He chose to do all of those things. Over a joke. A dated, not especially funny, not especially harmful joke. And yes, I’ve now heard about Jada’s alopecia and whether Rock knew or not is arbitrary. Comedians are afforded a certain amount of slack. Their job requires it, but the Oscars continues to be a hypocritical nightmare. On one hand, they want all the fanfare, viewers, stars, and excitement to make the broadcast a hit (which it hasn’t been in many years). On the other hand, it’s a show about Hollywood elite celebrating themselves and taking themselves far too seriously. Amy Schumer in her brief monologue said it’s the highest honor for a comedian to perform at the Oscars, but I disagree. This crowd doesn’t deserve to be entertained by brilliant, smart, witty comedians. In fact, in comparison, a case could be made that Schumer’s jokes about Aaron Sorkin making an unfunny movie, King Richard being anti-feminist, Don’t Look Up being horribly reviewed, and the Gyllenhaals being incestual were just as cutting and personal as Rock’s dumb joke about Jada; hers were just funnier.

Stings like a bee!

Now on to the reaction from the Academy. They blew it. They not only let this happen, they let Smith stay in the audience. Then they let him accept an Oscar and then they let him give a 50-hour speech that was a mess. He should have been escorted right out of there, and he should have missed his moment.

At the end of the day, the broadcast was pretty uneventful and not that great until “The Slap,” and, so this event certainly gave a jolt to an otherwise dull and over-long ceremony. However, it also provided yet another example of how problematic the Oscars and these Hollywood elite truly are. They Academy wants to be relevant and prestigious and these celebrities want to appear grounded and down to earth. Unfortunately, more than ever after this past broadcast, I see the business. It is a TV show first and foremost above all, secondly it is shameless promotion by very powerful multi-national corporations, and thirdly it is a fashion show/public showcase for onscreen talent. Movies are just the excuse. Additionally, the Academy’s taste is movies is becoming pretty awful, like terrible, and it remains abundantly clear that they are out of touch with the world. The relegation of several “less prestigious” categories and handing them out prior to the live broadcast is further evidence of how the Academy is just death spiraling. I hope this serves as a tipping point where some of the pretense and misplaced values can be examined and reallocated, so that we can have fun again, and stop all the nonsense.

Here’s my contribution to the meme-world.