Oscars – Women’s History Month:
Blame it on March Madness or confirmation of the ‘in like a lamb… out like a lion theory’ the 94th annual Academy Awards provided unprecedented memorable moments to A-list thespians and television viewers to close-out Women’s History Month.
On the last Sunday of March, for the first time in history, — Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall — three females hosted the spring affair; Ariana DeBose, a Puerto Rican woman who identifies as a lesbian reclaimed the Best Supporting Actress Oscar Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican won for portraying Anita in 1962 in the musical “West Side Story,” and singer/actress Lady Gaga and singer/actress Liza Minnelli bridged the generation gap exhibiting kindness, patience and sisterhood.
Add to that, Beyonce’s spectacular choreographed staging of “To Be Alive,” her Oscar nominated song from the movie “King William.”
Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams introduced the pop singer.
Along with her daughter Blue Ivy, a musical ensemble, the pop singer/actress performed at the Los Angeles, California tennis court the younger sisters practiced under the tutelage of their father, Richard.
The song opened the show to an electric musical dance routine on the green.
A glitzy, red carpet procession of glamorous women not seen since COVID-19 shielded masked smiles previewed the gala celebrating a return to normalcy in cinemas.
From early in the day, women seemed to highlight the evening.
However, things took a radical turn when the opposite gender took the spotlight.
Initially cheers celebrated Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor who won the best supporting category for “Coda.” It was the first time a deaf male had won the category. The announcement was received with unanimous appeal endorsed by the crowd using sign language.
But when Chris Rock and Will Smith, collided onstage, it seemed an early April Fool’s joke was being played on the global viewing audience.
Their encounter emerged the talk of the biggest night in entertainment. Prompted by an insensitive comment from the comedian, Rock poked fun at actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.
“Love you Jada, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” the former Oscar host said alluding to a role actress Demi Moore portrayed by shaving her head to star as G.I. Jane.
A camera showed Pinkett-Smith’s disdain after the mention. Allegedly, the actress suffers a health condition which forced her to shave her hair to a low crop. On noticing her hurt reaction, Will Smith’s mood changed from smiling nominee to angry spouse.
It was no joke.
In a blink of an eye, the husband vacated his seat, walked toward the comic and open-handedly slapped the jokester across the face.
As he walked away, Rock announced “Will Smith just slapped the s… out of me.”
Believing a skit had transpired, the well-dressed crowd looked on in bewilderment.
Smith did not stop there.
He punctuated his assault by assailing the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out of your f…ing mouth.”
ABC- TV bleeped the offensive language.
To the dismay of a black-tie, elite crowd, he repeated words banned for broadcast by the Federal Communication Commission.
Hip-hop mogul, actor and entrepreneur Sean Combs tried to mediate the feud offering assurance that he would ensure the rivals handle the dispute “in the family.”
It didn’t take long before social media saturated twitter and Whatsapp platforms with an uncensored, unedited version from a Japanese-language broadcast.
Stunned members of the audiences recovered from the shocking interaction when Rock announced popular “Tonight Show” drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the winner of the best documentary award.
His revival of “Summer of Soul” heralds the 1969 Harlem Festival which featured some of the most iconic names in Black music during a free concert at a park renamed for Marcus Garvey.
Questlove was favored to win the award he earned by unearthing vintage performances by Nina Simone, Sly & The Family Stones, the Fifth Dimension and many more talented musicians.
The director was only five years old when the acclaimed “Black Woodstock” feasted a marathon concert in the black mecca.
Questlove’s victory renewed momentum dulled temporarily by the dispute. Refusing to allow it to overshadow the triumph, his mother embraced him with a long emotional, hug.
She cried with joy.
Earlier, he explained how his relentless attempt at restoring 40 hours of film footage dominated his daily routine. He said Will Smith told him to wake up at 4:30 in the morning “seize the day” and focus.
Afterwards the best actor category introduced a list of deserving names.
Will Smith’s name was among the nominees.
On probably the worst night of his life, he won his first Academy Award.
He is the fifth of his race to win the prize.
Again, audiences gasped, cheered and even booed when Smith bested his colleagues.
He won the biggest reward of the night, best actor.
Smith kissed his wife, walked to the microphone and midway an acceptance speech sobbed the victory, the irony of the film’s parody of an inevitable test he said Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington advised.
“At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you,” Washington said. Actor Tyler Perry consoled the weeping winner.
Talk show host Trevor Noah also sided with the revered, television star of “the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
Smith had an opportunity to redeem himself from the embarrassing display of temperance.
He apologized to the audience and the motion picture academy he said he hoped would invite him back to partake.
Levity returned when Schumer joked “did I miss something? It seems the vibe changed in the room.”
The following day Smith personalized a message to Rock, saying:
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith wrote from his Instagram account.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”