So, how ’bout them Oscars?
Everyone will doubtlessly remember where they were when “CODA” won the Academy Award for Best Picture on Sunday. The drama, which I’m sure starred some people and was watched by somebody, scored a slight upset over woke-Western “The Power of the Dog,” also apparently watched by people. Thrilling stuff. That’s the moment everyone’s going to hearken back to when they talk about this year’s ceremonies, right?
Oh yeah, and Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. That too.
In a moment that overshadowed pretty much every Oscar given in the past few years, Smith — star of 2021’s “King Richard” and a few million other films — decided he wanted part of his legacy to be an on-air confrontation between himself and Rock, one of the presenters. The comedian had just made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, which she shaved off due to a battle with alopecia, an immune condition that causes baldness, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
“Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” he said, a reference to the 1997 film featuring Demi Moore with a shaved head.
Rock exhibited questionable judgment by telling the joke, but it had nothing on this poor judgment call on Smith’s part.
So here’s that Will Smith and Chris Rock moment in its entirety… judge for yourselves, guys. pic.twitter.com/mPNAixXIF9
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 28, 2022
I’ve no desire to analyze the cultural import of a one-sided slap-fight between two famous actors. If you want that, turn on “The View,” where a gaggle of considerably less-famous women will be squawking over each other about it.
Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to this tweet from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which a) puts on the Oscars and b) managed to neatly sum up Hollywood’s hypocrisy in just one tweet:
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form.” Really, now? That’s funny, since by my count, the Oscars have celebrated gratuitous on-screen violence for over a half-century now.
You could arguably trace the Oscars’ celebration of Hollywood’s sanguinary filmic culture back to “Bonnie and Clyde,” nominated for Best Picture in 1967, as per iMDB. However, the Oscars’ official cosigning of Tinseltown’s violent turn came with the Best Picture nomination for the ultra-violent, morally dubious Stanley Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange” in 1971.
(The Western Journal, it’s worth noting, has chronicled Hollywood’s descent into amorality — which has been made all the more hypocritical by the leftist moralizing of stars and studios. We’ll continue to bring readers news and analysis about the entertainment industry you won’t see in the mainstream media. You can help us bring America the truth by subscribing.)
Oliver Stone’s violent, cynical Vietnam flick “Platoon” won Best Picture in 1986. Another bloodthirsty director, Quentin Tarantino, hasn’t won yet but has seen several of his pictures nominated: “Pulp Fiction,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Django Unchained” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Here he is explaining why his films are so violent:
‘Because it’s so much fun, Jan!’ pic.twitter.com/8JmoiEjSBa
— Moviewa (@wannamovie) February 3, 2021
This isn’t limited to nominees, mind you. The Academy and other organizations have never taken any kind of stand against the entertainment industry’s moral decay since the 1960s — because they support it.
This decay includes violence, sex, drug use, profanity and other rot depicted on screen. The Oscars pretending they don’t condone violence after Will Smith’s smack is like Captain Renault in “Casablanca,” who is “shocked — shocked!” that there’s gambling at Rick’s Café — right before being handed his winnings.
And it’s not just violence on the screen, either. Director Roman Polanski remains a fugitive from justice after a conviction for drugging and raping a 13-year-old in 1977. That didn’t stop two of his movies from being nominated for Best Picture: “Tess” in 1981 and “The Pianist” in 2003.
Should Will Smith have been ejected from the Oscars?
The Academy only got around to expelling Polanski in 2019 after the #MeToo movement made his membership untenable, and just 42 years after he raped the teenager. Nice work.
Oh, and another sign the Academy tolerates violence: Here’s the speech that Smith gave after winning the Best Actor award — and after slapping Rock. Yes, he was still there:
Will Smith: “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
Notably, no apology to Chris Rock. pic.twitter.com/dRhsk9eICp
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 28, 2022
He apologized for his behavior, although not to Rock. Again, nice work.
If the Academy doesn’t “condone violence of any form,” Smith would have been gone. And yet, there he was.
In short, the Academy tolerates tons of violence — until it goes too far for most Americans, then it’s Captain Renault time. It’s shocked — shocked! — that we live in a culture where one star smacks another after a questionable joke. It has nothing to do with the degradation of our culture, with an increased tolerance for smacking, swearing and general nastiness.
One almost wishes Will Smith had been unapologetic about the incident. Just go up there and utter two simple sentences: “I did it because it’s so much fun, Jan! Get it!”
That’s not the speech members of the Academy wanted, but it’s the speech they deserved.