Published: 09th April 2022
What the FAQ: Why are we talking about actor Will Smith again after the 2022 Oscars night?
Will Smith has accepted a punishment and the news is everywhere! This comes as a result of his actions on the night he won the Oscar for Best Actor. Let us delve into the drama of what took place
The 94th Academy Awards, or Oscars, was held on Monday, March 28, this year. The popular and well-loved actor Will Smith is now infamous because of something he had done that night. A scandalous incident it certainly was and has led to severe repercussions for the actor. So much so that for the next ten years, he has been banned from the Oscars.
Here's all about it.
Okay, why are we talking about him today though?
Early on Saturday morning, April 9, it was reported that Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years, starting from April 8, by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. This is the organisation that conducts the Oscars every year. The ban has been imposed as a punishment for him, because on the night of March 28, he went up to the stage and slapped the popular comedian
Chris Rock. Later that night, Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the biopic Richard King. The Academy’s decision comes two weeks after the incident. On Friday, April 8, board members Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg were among those present to rule on the actor's future.
Refresher, please. What induced Will Smith to take such an action?
Comedian Chris Rock made a joke on the Oscars night, drawing parallels between Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who now sports a shaved head, and the movie character, GI Jane. Jada’s decision to shave her head is the result of an autoimmune condition called alopecia that causes hair loss. She had spoken about her struggles with her condition before in the public. Though the joke hadn’t been made intentionally, it certainly sparked the actor’s anger.
The Academy issued a statement about it. What does it say?
The incident has been decried by the Academy, which stated that the 94th Oscars were “overshadowed” by Smith’s “exhibit on stage”. Condemning the actions of the actor, the Academy’s president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote, "The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards." The Academy letter which doled out this punishment also claimed that the actor’s action was “unacceptable and harmful”.
The statement also mentioned how they did not address the situation in the room adequately. "For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented," it read.
What are people saying about it?
Some sections of people had called for Smith to be stripped of his Best Actor Oscar honour. Chris Rock's brother Kenny Rock told the Los Angeles Times that Smith had "belittled” Chris Rock “in front of millions of people” who had watched the show.
What has Will Smith's response been?
Will Smith had apologised to Chris Rock a day after the incident. He has also resigned voluntarily from the Academy a week later, starting on April 1, stating that his actions were “shocking, painful and inexcusable”. He has also said that he would “accept any further consequences” that the Academy’s board deemed fit.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” he said after the ban was announced.
Traditionally, the Best Actor Oscar winner is invited to present the following year's Best Actress Award, but this is an honour Will Smith shall not be granted. Though his Best Actor Oscar has not been revoked and he can still be listed in future Oscar nominations, the decision of the board remains a severe punishment.