To say that the show was a disaster I feel is a gross understatement.
I was genuinely excited to tune into the Oscars this year. After two strange years of either no event or a masked, subdued event, I was psyched to see the stars take to the red carpet, and watch whatever amazing production the Academy had in store for viewers on ABC.
To say that the show was a disaster I feel is a gross understatement. And no, not just because of Will Smith and the big slap. The show went so overboard with odd and ridiculously forced joking and production that I think it actually became a case of reverse misogyny.
After a year spent watching the governor of New York get cancelled for his inappropriate behavior toward women, and court case after court case tackle increases in domestic violence, child abuse and public displays of anger, cultural bias and mass shootings, I cannot think of a worse message to send the entire world on live television than that delivered by female Oscar hosts on stage.
The three hosts of the 94th Academy Awards, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, took to the stage to introduce themselves and set the tone for the evening. By the time their monologue was finished, I wasn’t impressed.
This Oscar production was emotionless, made no mention of the outright crisis in Ukraine, and said nothing at all about how excited everyone should be to be seated in a room together, maskless, for the first time in two years.
But most of all it was host Regina Hall of “Scary Movie” fame who made me take a deep pause.
She began with a self-effacing joke about being single. But as the evening progressed, she did a stand-up routine requiring male actors to come up on stage if their name was called, in order to have a Covid test, where she said she would get them naked and “swab the back of your mouth with my tongue.”
The looks on the confused actors’ faces, including Bradley Cooper and “Dune” actor Timothee Chalamet, who had no idea why they were called onto the stage, said it all.
Then, when Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin later came on stage to present an award, she hand-searched both of them by putting her hands all over their bodies and between their legs, saying it was “Academy protocol.”
Is anyone still with me here? Can you imagine a man doing the same thing to two women presenters on stage? Can you imagine a man of any ethnicity or gender identity putting his hands between two women’s legs to search them for “protocol?”
Will Smith hopefully realized his gaffe, and may have to face charges and sanctions in the future. But there is another problem in the production that I hope sees the light of day.
If we are going to champion everyone’s equality, and treat one another like human beings who deserve respect, love and decency, then we really cannot stand on the international stage of life and do something like this ever again. To anyone. Celebrity or not. Ever.
The joke, unfortunately, is on all of Hollywood.