So, About Last Night's Oscars...
There was at least one shocker I wasn't expecting (and it made me so mad I still wonder if they didn't read the wrong name) and the Best Pic upset I was thinking gonna happen DID happen.
I'm thrilled for CODA. THRILLED. It was nominated for three awards last night and walked away with all three of 'em.
The screenwriter/director started out as a nanny and taught herself to screen write on her own time. Things can happen for the little folks, y'all.
I mean, sure yes, she nanny-ed for Hollywood folk, but I don't think that's a reason to discount her success. She *knew* people, that's all; the writing and the heart and the storytelling and grace with which the story was told... that was all Sian.
I used to use things like, "Oh, she knew people, that's the only reason it happened for her" to deter me from even trying to do things. But here's the thing I was overlooking for so long.
Knowing people only helped her because she had something to show them.
You never know who you're gonna meet. Hell, one evening I found myself losing terribly at darts to Jeffrey B. Davis of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (and "Harmontown") fame and couldn't resist asking him to host my first ever F Awards for work.
He said yes, but the dates didn't work out. I wouldn't have even made it that far if I didn't have a 'thing' to ask him about.
So now when I'm working on something, "not knowing people" is a an excuse, not a reason, not to do it. I'll make stuff for me (like these blogs) so that if an opportunity should ever arise, I can fucking take advantage of it.
Ok, now let me get this out of the way. Aside from CODA winning Best Picture (deserved it), there was really only one shocker of the night and that was "Belfast" winning Best Original Screenplay.
I SEENT IT. This broke no new ground for me. How did this win? There was nothing Original about it. I mean, sure, it was a solid movie, but I feel like it's been done before in many different ways. I dunno, it was just a shock and disappointment.
Here is a quick rundown of other things that made me feel at the Oscars before I talk about the thing you all want to read about:
- JESSICA CHASTAIN DID THE THING!!! Her speech was sweet and she felt very genuine. She dressed to win too. I adored all of it.
- I am surprised "Flee" didn't win a single award, but I guess three nominations was prize enough.
- I adore seeing male-presenting folks have fun with fashion. It's about damn time.
- SURPRISE THEE STALLION! (However, I would have rather all the nominated songs be performed.)
- Troy Katsur had the best speech of the night, but I think it was a misstep by the Academy to not have the ASL interpreters more visible to the home audience. Normalizing things like this make it easier to accept things "different than us" in normal life.
- "Dune" swept the technical categories, like I thought it would
- I did not do well in my Oscar pool and that is because I let my emotions sway me too much and I pick the ones I really love in the hopes that they will upset.
- The speech by the "Drive My Car" team was so cute. So glad they won.
I was also extremely thrilled for Questlove's win for "Summer of Soul", but it was definitely overshadowed by what happened right beforehand with Chris Rock and Will Smith.
You all know what I am talking about, right? The slap heard 'round the world?
No, not the one from "Real World: Seattle".
I'm talking about the slap that undid all the hard work Will Smith has been putting into his career.
I'm sad for him, y'all. I really am.
He's been trying to win an Oscar since "Six Degrees of Separation". He'd been nominated twice before and lost both times.
Like they say, third time's the charm and all.
"King Richard" was Will's role. He embodied Richard Williams completely, bringing the audience into his story and as a result of that, his family. I was side-eyeing Will getting an Oscar this year up until the moment I saw the film and then I was like, "Yeah, this is it. This is his time."
All day yesterday I kept referring to Will's win as the inevitability it was. It wasn't "if" Will Smith won the Oscar, it was when.
And now? The Oscar win wasn't even the most important thing that happened to him that day.
History won't remember the incredible performance he won the Oscar for, it'll remember a split second decision he'll regret the rest of his life.
I understand angry outbursts that you can't control. I've had them myself and I've been on the receiving end of them multiple times.
It's fucking scary. Even if you say "mean" words before it happens.
I don't think there are any "mean words" that are worthy of the immediate response of physical violence. And the fact that is was so easily brushed past during the ceremony makes me feel really uncomfortable.
One time I was on the receiving end of a scary emotional outburst, after having one of the best days in recent memory up to that point. Do I remember what made the day good? Nope. Can I recall internally at any moment the panic I felt when the outburst was happening at me? Yes, I can.
That's how Will's gonna remember his Oscar win and that makes me sad for him.
But it was him who didn't control himself, I have to keep reminding myself of this.
A lot of other people are, like, doing a deep dive on their marriage and relationship and how Jada treats Will, but I don't think that's any of my business. If Will's a cuck and happy, good for him. If Will's a cuck and hates it... well, that's his problem not ours.
Like I said before, though. "mean" words should never be met with physical violence. That's the line that was crossed.
And the Academy's handling of it was horrid. Or the producer's handling of it.
Which was to just not handle it.
It was as if it didn't happen aside from Will's weepy, rambly speech that made little sense and a couple throwaway comments by other winners. That should have been a triumphant moment for Will and he knew he fucked it up.
I'm not worried about him or his career, though. He's an Oscar winner now, after all.
HOWEVER, I am worried about what this precedent means for my comedian friends.
The entire country just watched a comedian make a joke.
An audience member did not like the joke the comedian made.
So that audience member rushed the stage and smacked the comedian while yelling at him.
Then the audience member went back to his seat and watched the rest of the show.
This is gonna empower people that only know how to deal in violence to do similar in smaller venues.
They're gonna feel like it's okay to hit a comedian who says something they don't like because Will Smith did it and got away with it.
Especially since, after this audience member hit another person, not in self defense, but as the aggressor, they were rewarded with one of the highest honors later in the show.
Now, I know the votes were tallyed in advance and don't think the winner should be changed based on this action.
I do not think he should have been given the opportunity to accept it, though.
I hate what it says, that the celebrity status was more important than the act of violence.
That he deserved his moment despite what he did.
I think that moment was earned and he lost it the second his hand made contact with Chris Rock's face.
He should have been asked to leave the ceremony, which should have zero tolerance for violence. No matter who you are.
There is a non-violent way to handle situations like this. We are better than this, collectively.
The people saying Chris Rock deserved it literally scare me and makes me afraid to say just about anything out loud.
I mean, if the threat of violence is an option for just saying something, why would you bother to say anything, ever?
I'd like to think I don't hang around with violent people, but things can happen on a dime.
The old Jacki would have loved watching these Oscars for the drama of it all. And tried to figure out all the ins and outs of what happened.
I do have one nagging thought that keeps popping up in my head that I can't let go of. The Oscars and other awards shows are notorious for the free flowing booze, so I do wonder if alcohol was a factor at all. I don't know anything about Will's relationship with drinking, so I cannot speak about it (nor am I the person to speak about it).
I know when I'm drinking I haven't historically made the best decisions, and that's why the thought's at the back of my head.
But, as a true lover of the Academy Awards, I'm just sad about the whole thing. This ceremony celebrating the movies I so love is 100% eclipsed by a slap.
By a fucking slap.
I had a note at the top of my Oscar note-taking sheet about the time Will was nominated for an Academy Award 20 years ago.
Will was the odds on favorite to win. He didn't though, Denzel instead took it home for "Training Day".
Last night, I thought Denzel would be the only possible person who could dethrone this year, so I wanted that fact at the ready in case of an upset.
They've always had a natural ribbing relationship from what I can see, so I just think they would have probably had a cute moment no matter who won.
Which they did, it just came in the form of Denzel Washington talking Will Smith down from a violent outburst.
And Will's career is gonna be defined forever by what happened when he won the Oscar. Not even that he won or for what role, but for a reaction to a joke by a comedian.
And this single slap has eclipsed everyone else's victories too!
I was SO looking forward to Questlove winning for his masterpiece "Summer of Soul" but Will completely robbed him of that moment.
We should be talking about Sian Heder and CODA today. What an amazing story this is.
Here are some articles about her:
- She started out as a NANNY!
- She was a co-producer on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK!
- She convinced her sound department to use COMPLETE SILENCE!
- She's a freaking OSCAR WINNER!
That's what I want to focus on. The real winners of the night. FILM! MOVIES! MUSIC! FASHION! WINNERS! SPEECHES!
Will can work out his anger on his own time. And I hope he does.
After “the slap” incident, all I could think was: “Sidney Poitier is rolling over in his grave.”