The highs, lows, and slaps of the 2022 Oscars

Will Smith appears to slap Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) (Neilson Barnard, 2022 Getty Images)

The next time someone tells you the Oscars are boring, remind them of the 2022 ceremony.

After what was a seemingly normal and slightly boring Oscars broadcast, Chris Rock and Will Smith changed the trajectory of the entire evening with a tasteless joke and a full-on slap.

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But before we get to that moment, let’s talk about what else happened during the Oscars telecast, and then of course, the slap heard around the world.

HIGH: Beyoncé! We all knew Bey was going to perform at the show, but opening the entire thing? We don’t deserve! She performed her song from “King Richard” with a group of musicians and dancers clad in tennis ball green. It was wonderful.

LOW: Three hosts didn’t work out that well during the opening monologue. Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer just didn’t have great chemistry at all, even if some of the jokes were actually funny.

HIGH: Schumer’s second monologue. She came back out to do what she does best, roast the hell out of famous celebrities. All of her jokes landed perfectly, and I couldn’t help but wonder why she didn’t just open the show with this instead.

HIGH: Ariana DeBose wins! We all knew DeBose was going to win Best Supporting Actress, but wow, her speech was incredible. She deserved an Oscar for the speech alone.

Co-host Regina Hall speaks onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

HIGH: Regina Hall’s COVID bit. After a bumpy monologue, Hall proved that she has the acting chops during a hilarious bit she did. She read out famous hot celebrities that needed to be “retested” for COVID, even though we all know that wasn’t going to happen. She committed to the bit and it paid off.

LOW: The pre-recorded acceptance speeches. The Oscars made a controversial decision before the broadcast that they were going to give out a handful of awards (like makeup and editing) before the live broadcast. They then played the acceptance speeches throughout the evening, as if they were actually happening live on stage.

The whole thing was so weird. First, it felt rude to the people who make movies behind the scenes -- and secondly, it didn’t save any more time during the broadcast. They still showed the entire speech!

Just read them live next year.

LOW: Tony Hawk, Shaun White and Kelly Slater honoring Bond movies. I truly don’t understand the logic to have these three present the James Bond montage when Dame Judi Dench is right in the audience!

HIGH: “Encanto!” Win all the awards, “Encanto!”

LOW: Sykes at the Oscars museum. This was basically an ad for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and it wasn’t funny. It would have been much better to see Sykes up on the stage, cracking jokes.

HIGH: Troy Kotsur wins! I was already emotional watching the audience at the Oscars do a sign language version of applause, instead of actually applauding, but when Kotsur’s interpreter started to choke up during the speech, I wept. Kotsur is just the second actor who is deaf to win an Oscar, and his speech was absolutely wonderful.

HIGH: Reba! Reba sang a song that was nominated for an Oscar. The song was kind of lame, but Reba being there alone made this moment great.

HIGH: It’s Bruno time! The cast of “Encanto” was finally going to perform “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and I was SO excited. It was amazing, and then Megan Thee Stallion showed up for a remix and I lost my d--- mind. Until ...

LOW: They didn’t finish the song! They changed the lyrics to something about lame like “watching the Oscars” and the rest of the cast members didn’t get to sing their solo parts. No “rats on his back?” No “he told me that the life of my dreams?” We were robbed!

HIGH: Schumer floating in the air in a Spider Man suit made all of this worth it.

Co-host Amy Schumer trying her best to save the show during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

LOW: Those weird listicles of “fan-favorite movies.” Apparently, fans voted for their favorite Oscar moments and fan favorite -- and the whole thing was just so pointless. Just give us the normal awards!

WHOA: Chris Rock and Will Smith. We can’t NOT talk about it, so here we go.

Rock, a comedian, made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith being bald, which her husband, Will Smith, did not appreciate. Most of the moment was completely cut from the broadcast, but the full thing was shown in different countries, so we know what went down.

Smith got up from his seat and slapped Rock across the face. Once he got back to his seat, Smith told Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. Rock was beyond shocked in the moment, and somehow went on to present an Oscar for Best Documentary.

The entire thing was extremely shocking to watch, but what was even crazier is how the show just continued on, like nothing happened. Not only could you tell the energy in the Dolby Theater had changed, but I felt uncomfortable at home. I kept thinking to myself, “So, we’re just going to act like that didn’t happen?”

There is a lot to be said about who was wrong in this situation, and I’m probably not the right person to weigh in. Violence is never the answer, but also maybe we shouldn’t be making fun of women with alopecia?

It’s just unfortunate that the entire situation happened at all. It completely changed the tone and vibe of the show, and it took away from all the great winners for the rest of the night. Instead of talking about their great speeches, we’re talking about a grown man slapping another grown man.

LOW: “Godfather” reunion. This probably would have been a lot more cool if Will Smith had not just slapped Chris Rock five minutes before. We’re seriously going to act like nothing happened at all?

LOW: The “In Memorium.” At this point, it still felt insane that we just moved on from what just happened. Then, the tone of the “Memorium” was totally off. There is a choir singing the “Golden Girls” theme song with a giant photo of Betty White while Jamie Lee Curtis is on stage holding a terrified puppy?

It was so strange!

I honestly felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. All I knew is that I needed it to end.

LOW: Kevin Costner. The Oscar-winning actor talked for way too long before giving out the award for Best Director. I literally had no clue what he was talking about, and it was so unnecessary.

HIGH: At least Jane Campion won Best Director?

LOW: Will Smith won his Oscar. What was supposed to be a joyous thing turned incredibly uncomfortable and awkward, real quick. Smith eventually apologized to the Academy (not to Rock, though), but his entire speech was just weird.

Smith used an excuse of loving his wife so much that he had to protect her, which didn’t really come off the way he probably wanted it to. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was watching.

HIGH: Thank you, Schumer, for breaking the tension in the room! Schumer played dumb and asked if she had missed something? It was a great way to laugh about this incredibly bizarre and awkward situation. You should host solo next year, Amy.

Jessica Chastain accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

HIGH: Jessica Chastain wins! Her speech was wonderful, but sadly, no one will be talking about it because of Will Smith.

HIGH: Lady Gaga and Liza! The duo presented the Oscar for Best Picture to “CODA” together and it was so splendid. Liza has gotten very old, but Gaga did a wonderful job presenting with her. Again, too bad this won’t even be a highlight of the night because of what happened with the slap.

Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

And that’s it! I truly never thought that anything could top the “La La Land”/”Moonlight” mishap of 2017, yet here we are.

This will undoubtedly be the only thing people remember from this year’s Oscars, which is sad because there were some really fantastic wins that deserved attention.

However, I’ve never been this thrilled and enthralled watching an awards show telecast, probably since the 2017 Oscars, and that shocking moment happened at the very last moment of the show. This is certainly the most shocking thing to ever happen at a modern Oscars ceremony, but it’s just unfortunate that this is why people are talking about the Oscars again.

Clearly, whatever is going on between Smith and Rock is way deeper than just a lame joke, and it’s annoying that they brought their beef to the stage of the Oscars. Let’s just say that it will certainly be difficult to have a more shocking moment at next year’s awards show.

About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.