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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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The Gong Show: Should Will Smith’s Oscar go down to a vote?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

UPDATE: We were way ahead on this one, as The Academy is holding emergency meetings about a vote on all this...

On Japanese TV they carried the entire unedited melee when KING RICHARD’s Will Smith crossed from his front row seat at the 94th Academy Awards to clock comedian Chris Rock in a knee-jerk reaction to a G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, the f-bomb’s flew with an open-hand crescendo to the presenter’s face that looked like a punch when it launched.

In fact, Smith’s other hand is balled up in a fist on impact.

The distinction between an open-hand “smack” and a closed fist punch is a legal matter, and for some, the flat hand finale seemed like a calculated move to lessen the optics of the blow. Twitter exploded with shock, horror, memes… India TV picked up one captioned “Me Trying to Enjoy the Weekend” (Chris Rock), with Will Smith as “Monday” in the pow posture.

Melee it was, no doubt, not just in memes but in the crush of glances and shame within The Dolby theater. Yes, injured Comedian Chris Rock has declined to press charges as of 6 am Monday morning aftermath, but there it was… at Hollywood’s most prestigious and storied event, before a crowd made of the industry’s royalty, titans, and insiders. You had everyone from Liza Minelli to Francis Ford Coppola, from Denzel Washington to Lady Gaga, not to mention nearly the entire starry list of Nominees. And it doesn’t help that Will Smith picked up his trophy and partied at the Vanity Fair soiree into the night? The entire telecast audience and spectators there had to see this…

Here’s the replay of the ‘Smack Heard Round the World’

So what happens now? After the shock wears off, ‘this aggression can not stand’ as The Dude would say. In a Town that prides itself on even-handed justice, fairness, and political causes - including stands against violence and harassment in the workplace. The powers that be must take a position on this one, whether they want to or not. It’s not about Venus and Serena Williams’ movie at this point, nor does it reflect on their father who broke through barriers on his own journey that didn’t need a film to document his success… this is about The Academy, and how they will handle the event to set policy in the future. Now the tally for second choice, the runner-up, must be calculated? If this Best Actor Oscar is rescinded, who wins? All fair questions after “The Biggest Night in Hollywood” that capped an already protracted and contentious Award Season, contentious for many reasons… not just about the mix of the membership, but the survival of a show that cut literally 8 categories out of its own heart to cater to the demand made by ABC execs, allegedly, who asked for a shorter version… which of course ran longer, as always, but due to unforeseen circumstances that were much like a reality TV show.

Of course this isn’t reality TV, this is the gold standard for everyone who makes movies, and now those same people - including the members whose categories were mercilessly cut from the heart of the live telecast - have every right to vote to rescind this Oscar, and restore some sanity to the most chaotic Award Show year in Cinema History, lest they end up like the embattled Golden Globes, which wasn’t even broadcast in 2022. "

You Know, This Aggression will Not Stand, Man.” - The Dude



Oh yeah, like show producer predicted? "

“This year’s show is all about uniting movie lovers.  It’s apropos that we’ve lined up three of the most dynamic, hilarious women with very different comedic styles,” said Packer.  “I know the fun Regina, Amy and Wanda will be having will translate to our audience as well.  Many surprises in store!  Expect the unexpected!”

C’mon The Academy, Branches and Membership, it is time to take action, whatever the vote turns out to be… the clock is ticking on this one. Make a statement at least?

Visit the winners here.

# # #


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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

LA Correspondent for

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