And the big news from the 94th Academy Awards held last March 27 is that Best Actor nominee Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian cracked a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith. It was for real. Not very nice. And I always thought Smith was a nice guy.

Smith’s reason was he was merely defending his family. Jada is suffering from alopecia, a disease that results in the loss of hair and Rock’s joke about her being in a G.I. Jane movie, remember Demi Moore’s haircut in that film? It made Smith lose his temper. Being afflicted with alopecia is no joke.

I grant that Rock was insensitive, even impertinent and insulting which admittedly, is the way most comedians in the U.S. of A. get their laughs. But putting him in his place with a slap during the Oscar ceremony was not right. If I were Smith’s grandmother, I would have packed him up in his limo and brought him home, washed his mouth with soap (remember he said the F word) and then sent him to bed without his dinner.

Beyoncé is glowing in tennis ball yellow for Be Alive from King Richard.

If he had not been the Will Smith, the LAPD would have hauled him up to the police station to answer to the charge of assault, which it clearly was. But no, he was allowed to stay and accept his Best Actor trophy for the movie King Richard. Smith later apologized during his acceptance speech to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock. That is just too bad. (The apology came a day later on his Instagram.)

I have always liked Smith. I enjoy watching his movies, even the reruns of the TV sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but I do not think it will be as fun anymore.

Still, the media mileage that the Oscars got from the incident is its biggest in years. The Net is literally bursting out with the story. Suddenly, everybody was talking about the Oscars, although they could not care less about t

Sebastian Yatra is sexy in his whispery tones for Los Oruguitas from the Best Animated Feature Film winner Encanto

he winners, since most of them never saw the nominated films.

 

Take note that the only nominee that did OK at the box office was Dune. The film won six out of its 10 nominations. These were for Best Sound, Production Design, Cinematography, Editing, Visual Effects and Original Score. It was the second Oscar for composer Hans Zimmer. He won his first for The Lion King. Unfortunately, his award was relegated to those given out before the main ceremony.

Not very nice, too, because the movies can never be without music. Check back on the old silent films, although without sound or dialogue, those were all screened with live music. But in its effort to shorten the program, the Academy chose Best Visual Effects over the Best Musical Score.

Music is a most important part of making movies. Music is what manipulates the emotions of the viewers. This is also true of events like the Oscars. The musical numbers are what viewers look forward to in the ceremony. You can find out who the winners are in the news anyway. And unless it happens to be Billy Crystal, you can forget about the hosts. Can you imagine, pretend feel downs of male actors on stage! No wonder they allowed Smith to get away with it. But the songs were absolutely charming.

There was Beyoncé, glowing in tennis ball yellow for Be Alive from King Richard; country music diva Reba McEntire in a moving rendition of Somehow You Do from Four Good Days; Sebastian Yatra, sexy in his whispery tones for Los Oruguitas from the Best Animated Feature Film winner Encanto; and winners Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, laid back but dramatic for No Time to Die from the James Bond film of the same title.

It would have been nice if the fifth nominee rock legend Van Morrison had been able to make it to perform Down to Joy from Belfast. But perhaps in an enchanting case of substitution, the Academy brought in the We Don’t Talk About Bruno gang from Encanto. It was fun finally seeing the Madrigal Family with their human faces.

Congratulations to all the winners, most especially to Ahmir Questlove Thompson, director of the Best Documentary Feature, Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), about the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. Questlove is frontman and drummer of the band Roots, which is a regular at The Late Show of Jimmy Fallon. He is the author of the informative page-turner Music is History.





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