Oscars Rocked by Controversy


Randi Mendolia, Staff Reporter

The 94th Oscars got everyone talking, but not for movie purposes. It started as any other Oscars show with the hosts making jokes and celebrities announcing winners. Everything was going smoothly, until Chris Rock presented the winner of Best Documentary. 

Rock was performing how he usually does, as a comedian. The show’s mood completely changed when Rock made a joke regarding Will Smith’s wife, Jada Smith’s bald head, referring to her as the next “GI Jane.” 

The crowd went wild, and even Will Smith chuckled at first, but Jada was not having it. The camera panned back to Chris Rock, and Will Smith must have seen his wife’s reaction because he walked on stage, and slapped Rock across the face. After the slap, the audio went silent, assuming explicit words were said. Viewers could tell by Lupita Nyong’o’s face, sitting behind Smith, that things were not right. 

As soon as this happened, I ran to Google. The speculation on whether it was an act or a real situation was the hottest topic of the night. In my opinion, I saw it as real because of the way Chris Rock balled his fist after the slap, and especially after hearing the uncensored version. 

Rock’s joke about Jada Smith’s bald head might have been a little sensitive because she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, alopecia, which causes balding. On the other hand, comedians will be comedians. If Rock would have known about Jada’s alopecia, he would have had a better joke. 

I think Will was in the wrong for humiliating and drawing attention to himself. The situation could have been handled much better in private. As someone who is not in the “Hollywood World,” I would think it would be a huge privilege to be invited to the Oscars, even more so to have a front row seat. 

Rock was not the only one to say something controversial at award shows. Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes multiple times, and made comments about Caitlyn Jenner, Scientologists, and more celebrities. 

It is not the first time someone was joked about. In a video, Jada Smith said she did not care about what anyone says regarding her bald head. They were sitting in the front section of the audience, meaning they were clear targets for the presenters’ jokes. 

Additionally, Will Smith should have been escorted out of the show. If anyone else would have done that they would have been kicked out. Smith ended up winning an Oscar for his role in “King Richard,” and apologized to The Academy and the audience, but not to Chris Rock. Rock decided not to press charges on Smith the day after the event. 

The whole show was changed, and will forever be remembered as Will Smith fighting Chris Rock, not the win of the first movie with a deaf cast (Coda) to be awarded Best Picture.