From a flop like Hancock to an Oscar-winning performance in King Richard, Will Smith’s acting career has certainly come a long way. Except, there’s one issue. Apparently, the Academy doesn’t take too kindly to actors who slap the show’s host on live television. We all saw it by now, the jaw-dropping moment where only a loud THWOP sound can be heard resonating from Will Smith’s hand to Chris Rock’s face.
Despite the sheer amount of admiration Will Smith may be receiving on social media, his first Oscar win could be at risk. According to the Academy Award’s conduct policies, his Best Actor accolade could be revoked due to his onstage violence. Can one slap really cause Will Smith to lose his very first Oscar award?
The Academy’s statement & conduct policy
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which handed out awards Sunday at the Dolby Theatre, has strict guidelines in its code of conduct. The Academy vaguely announced on its official Twitter: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
Its conduct code, released in 2017 during the sexual assault scandal that hit the industry, stresses the importance of “upholding the Academy’s values,” like inclusion, fostering supportive environments, and “respect for human dignity.”
At the time, AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote to members: “Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers,” Variety reported.
“In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. “
She continued, “There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power, or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”
Is the slap really that serious?
While Hollywood remains particularly bothered, people on Twitter can’t help but cackle at this arguably iconic moment in Oscar history. Let’s face it, if you make a joke about someone’s wife and their alopecia condition, you should expect a hardy smack to the dome.
everyone around will smith after he sat back down pic.twitter.com/jeXYMuEy29
— ѕσнαιℓ🥀|| ᴋʀɪᴛɪᴋᴀ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴜʙɪ ꜱᴛᴀɴ || (@Unknownn__02) March 28, 2022
Of course, all the industry’s elite didn’t know how to react. Will Smith brought the heat into a room full of Hollywood’s finest (and snootiest). As a result, celebrities like Judd Apatow reacted as if he witnessed an attempted murder firsthand.
In a now-deleted tweet, the Knocked Up director was astonished by Will Smith’s behavior. He wrote, “He could have killed him. That’s pure out-of-control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”
Will Smith pic.twitter.com/CgbQC1zaEl
— Auron (@auronplay) March 28, 2022
The memes from last night’s Oscars just keep on coming with no sign of slowing down. When something insane happens on T.V., rest assured that Twitter will bring comedy genius.
Someone said “Chris Rock made the joke but Will Smith delivered the punchline” pic.twitter.com/wxKrUTa2QZ
— Doofenfairy (@purpl3b4n4n4) March 28, 2022
We can all agree that watching the Oscars can get maddeningly boring. So, we’d like to thank Will Smith for bringing us one of the most amazing moments not only in Oscar history but in live television as a whole.
What do you think about Will Smith’s behavior? Should he have his Oscar revoked? Let us know all your thoughts (and memes) in the comments below!