The Oscars has been bleeding viewership for years. Between the dreadfully boring movies, the gratuitous backslapping (especially those they give themselves), and the Woke virtue-signaling that has anyone to the right of AOC tuning out, it’s been one Hollywood-produced snorefest after another.
The viewership has gone down for all major awards shows for years, but it plummeted in particular under the Trump administration. 2021 was an utter disaster, as far as Academy Awards and Grammy ratings go.
Some of that can be chalked up to the Covid pandemic, which hit Hollywood studios hard by delaying movie production and killing the domestic and foreign box offices. But 2021 was more of an acceleration of a trend that had been in place since around 2014.
Enter the ‘fight of the century,’ if you want to call a brief slapdown between two fellow actors that. It was unprecendented in the nearly 94 years of academy awards shows: An A-list actor taking such offense at a joke that he actually slapped a legendary comedian for telling it.
Now, the surreal live television event was heightened by the U.S. domestic audience being shown several moments of air with the audio completely cut following Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock. You could see Will Smith shouting angrily — not the usual kind of yelling you’d expect from an actor. But real yelling. It was the kind you might expect from a loud drunk at a bar on Friday night. It was visceral and raw and a bit unnerving to witness.
It didn’t take long for the full, unedited footage to surface. Here it is below. See if you can detect anything ‘off’ or that might have some people questioning whether or not it was all staged:
The first thing that was odd is that Will Smith initially laughed at Chris Rock’s ‘GI Jane’ joke.
But there was something else that didn’t quite add up. You could hear Smith slap Rock’s face hard enough to make a loud sound. Here is the slap in super slow motion:
Super slow mo. This was definitely real. pic.twitter.com/ee62NcZ3ah
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 28, 2022
But one of the oddest things is how Chris Rock stood up to the blow and even laughed about it. One moment in particular shows them both grinning from ear-to-ear.
Chris Rock then declined to press charges against Will Smith with the LAPD.
There were plenty of people who came to the conclusion that this must be staged.
— boi (@boi_cfc1) March 28, 2022
The smiles say it all. https://t.co/jF3eyvfXvX
— Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) March 28, 2022
Think the slap was real but still staged/planned. Chris Rock basically had no reaction & Immediately said this is the greatest Oscar moment 🤣
Also, no security/reaction to a HIGH PROFILE CELEBRITY being hit? 🤔
Perfect Segway for Will’s speech as well
Ratings through the roof
— “Mr. Cheesecake” (@Godsace05) March 28, 2022
If the slap wasn't staged between Will Smith and Chris Rock, why wasn't Will Smith immediately escorted out of the Oscar's for assault?
He just gets a pass?
— Mike (@fuctmind) March 28, 2022
Did will smith really slap a grown man? Chris Rock let him? This had to be staged
— Maximus Decimus Meridius (@Most_Maximus) March 28, 2022
Okay I’m sorry but that Will Smith/Chris Rock slap act looked so painfully staged. I feel like I learned this same move in my combat classes in college theatre. #Oscar
— Jasmine Sadry (@JasmineSadry) March 28, 2022
There were plenty who rebutted that it was most definitely not staged.
Miss me with all the "it was fake" or "it was scripted" takes on the Will Smith and Chris Rock thing
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) March 28, 2022
🚨UNCENSORED: Will Smith PUNCHES Chris Rock in the face.
I don’t think it’s staged.
In Australia, they didn’t bleep any of it out.
This is insane.
And no one kicked Will Smith out of the #Oscars after the assault.
— Avi Yemini (@OzraeliAvi) March 28, 2022
People speculating the Will Smith vs Chris Rock thing was staged. No, definitely not. A stunt like that is something they might have staged at the VMAs in the 90s. Not the woke Oscars in 2022. Will Smith is just a deranged cuckold who finally snapped. That’s all. Hilarious though
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 28, 2022
What do you think? Was it real or staged? Weigh in below.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.