‘The 2022 Oscars’: A Slap in the Face

Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock overshadows historic winners



This year’s Oscars were overshadowed by interpersonal fights, but many people broke records in categories this year.


In a shocking turn of events, the Academy got exactly what it was looking for: an increase in viewership, media attention and a ceremony that surely will not be forgotten. All it took was Will Smith publicly assaulting comedian Chris Rock over a joke to get people talking about the Oscars again, albeit for all the wrong reasons. 

Unfortunately, the incident between Smith and Rock has completely overshadowed the winners and positive moments during the ceremony. 

When it happened, I was in shock, and immediately checked Twitter to see if the incident was real. After seeing the uncensored Japanese version along with videos of Bradley Cooper, Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington trying to calm down Smith during the next commercial break, there was no doubt that it was. 

The night was ruined for me and, more importantly, for some of the nominees and winners.

For the next half hour or so, I couldn’t stop looking at the live reactions across Twitter and Instagram, completely missing speeches from key categories like best original song and best director. 

It was very disappointing for an Oscars fan like myself that the incident had transpired because for almost a year, I had been following the Oscar races very closely, and then that one moment completely stole my attention. The night was ruined for me and, more importantly, for some of the nominees and winners. 

To make matters worse, Smith gave probably the most uncomfortable and confusing speech in Oscars history. 

He justified his actions by stating that “love will make you do crazy things,” and that after making “King Richard,” he was inspired to develop the mindset of “being called on in (his) life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to (his) people.” So much for love, Will. Rock handled the incident professionally and made a joke of the situation, transitioning rather smoothly to the best documentary feature category. 

Moving on from the clown show of an event that will probably be the only thing remembered from the night, here are some positives including the hosts, live performances and historic wins that people should be talking about. 

The three hosts during the night were Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and our very own Fordham Ram, Regina Hall, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’92. I thought that the hosts did a great job with their jokes and bits, particularly their strong opening monologue following Beyoncé’s powerful performance for her Oscar-nominated song “Be Alive” from “King Richard.” 

Hall had some of the more memorable jokes and bits, like her comments about the attractiveness of Timothée Chalamet and J.K. Simmons, and LeBron James’ artificially created hairline in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” 

There were also some historic records set with the winners this year.

The Oscars even managed to spruce things up a little bit for movie fans through several tributes to iconic movies and franchises. Some of the best were tributes to the James Bond and The Godfather franchises, in addition to cast reunions from “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Pulp Fiction.” 

The live performances from this year were entertaining, particularly the two performances from Disney’s “Encanto.” Sebastián Yatra performed “Dos Oruguitas” with vulnerability and emotion, blending well with the two stage dancers and the beautiful outfits the performers wore. Later in the ceremony, the cast of “Encanto” was joined by Megan Thee Stallion to perform a vibrant and energetic rendition of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” 

There were also some historic records set with the winners this year. 

Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for her portrayal of Anita in “West Side Story,” which actress Rita Moreno won for the same role in 1961 in the original “West Side Story.” 

DeBose is the first openly queer Afro Latina to win an acting Oscar, and she delivered an emotional and powerful speech about the importance of embracing your identity. 

Jane Campion won best director for “The Power of the Dog,” which is the third time a woman has won the award and the second year in a row following Chloé Zhao’s win last year for “Nomadland.”

Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar for his uplifting and comical role in “CODA.” 

Kotsur stole the hearts of everyone in his speech with a joke about wanting to teach President Joe Biden curse words when he visited the White House, and with a heartfelt thank you to his dad and to the deaf community. 

There were not any surprises in the winners, and “Dune” ended up taking home the most Oscars with six.

Finally, Apple TV+’s “CODA” won best picture, becoming the first movie from a streaming service to win best picture. It was a pleasant surprise to see “CODA” win, as it was seen as neck-in-neck with “The Power of the Dog” for the winner of the big prize of the night. 

Other than “CODA,” there were not any surprises in the winners, and “Dune” ended up taking home the most Oscars with six. 

Ultimately, let’s hope that next year, the Oscars can avoid another live televised disaster and return as a symbol of the celebration of art, equality and unity that it is supposed to be. In the words of the great Sir Anthony Hopkins, “Let’s have peace and love and quiet.” 

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled LeBron James’ name. As of April 4, 2022, it has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.