The 94th Academy Awards happened last night and Sian Heder's CODA ended up being the big winner of the night, winning all three awards it was nominated for, including Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur, Best Adapted Screenplay for Heder, and Best Picture, the first time the award has been presented to a film distributed by a streaming service. Most of the other awards followed a reasonably predictable path, with Jane Campion winning Best Director for The Power of the Dog, Jessica Chastain winning Best Actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Kenneth Branagh winning Best Original Screenplay for Belfast. Denis Villeneuve's Dune was the big winner of the night with six wins, though they were predominantly in the technical categories of Original Score, Sound, Film Editing, Production Design, Cinematography, Visual Effects, most of which were presented an hour before the telecast, with the speeches edited into the show.http://gty.im/1239559325
However, the Oscars themselves ended up being overshadowed by an incident where Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped Best Documentary presenter Chris Rock, who had cracked a joke at the expense of Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who recently shaved her head as a result of the hair loss condition alopecia. Chris Rock told Jada Pinkett Smith that he looked forwards to seeing her in G.I. Jane 2, in reference to the 1997 Ridley Scott directed film starring Demi Moore, which she famously shaved her head for. Despite initially being seen laughing at the joke, Will Smith proceeded to run up to the stage and loudly slap Chris Rock and the telecast cut sound as Smith yelled “Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth!” This incident ended up dampening the mood for the the remainder of the ceremony and overshadowed Questlove's Best Documentary win for Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which occurred in the immediate aftermath.
The aftermath of the “Slap Heard Round the World” became downright awkward when Will Smith ended up winning Best Actor for King Richard. What was supposed to be a career-defining moment for Smith ended up with the actor trying to form his speech into an apology, which included comparing his actions to that of his character Richard Williams, as a man who protects his family. In the aftermath of the Oscars, Chris Rock declined to file a report with the LAPD, but Will Smith did end up being excluded from the tradition post-Oscars photo-op featuring the winners of the acting awards. It remains to be seen whether there will be any long-term repercussions for Smith or if this incident will be quickly swept under the rug.