By “Huckabee” pop culture guru Pat Reeder (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com)
I really wish we could stop talking about this because I’m as sick of it as you are, but there have been a few more twists to the “Will Smith goes berserk at the Oscars” story. First, Smith resigned from the Academy. They were already meeting to discuss punishment, which could have included expulsion, so this could just be a “You can’t fire me, I quit!” move. Smith issued a statement acknowledging that his actions were “shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
That might be easier to swallow if the other new twist wasn’t that footage of the Oscars from different vantage points appears to show that his wife Jada was laughing as he walked back from slapping Chris Rock, that co-host Amy Schumer later joked about it (“Did anything happen while I was away?”) and Smith guffawed at that, and he was later taped after his tearful, contrite acceptance speech dancing at an after-party and shaking his Oscar like a maraca. So he really did deserve that award for Best Actor. But considering Schumer also claims she’s taking a month off to recover from the trauma of the same incident that she was joking about before everyone in the theater realized how badly it came off to us normal people, Smith is only the tip of the Hollywood hypocrisy iceberg.
Also, last night, CBS aired the Grammy Awards from Las Vegas (full disclosure: my wife and fellow writer Laura Ainsworth is also a recording artist and Grammy voter: https://shop.bandwear.com/collections/laura-ainsworth-shop)
Maybe because of the tanking ratings, or the sense that Americans are fed up with woke celebrity hypocrites, the Grammy Awards were a little better this year than in recent years. The emphasis was more on music than politics, the virtue-signaling was turned down a bit, and the major political statement was a message from Ukrainian President Zelensky with a musical salute to Ukraine and an appeal to help the refugees.
They continued the unfortunate trend of putting performers on stage during the “In Memoriam” segment, often pushing the departed honorees so far into the background that you couldn’t see them (and I don’t understand why the drummer for the Foo Fighters got a special segment while Mike Nesmith got two seconds), but at least the Steven Sondheim songs were superbly performed. And while there were the usual classless moments and too much stuff that I personally might not technically consider to be “music,” there were also more examples than in recent years of actual musical talent and diverse styles, from the ‘70s funk of Silk Sonic to Lady Gaga’s salute to Tony Bennett to Jon Batiste’s New Orleans jazz-infused R&B.
Finally, congratulations to our friends who won and were nominated in the type of indie label categories that feature the best music being made today, so naturally, they’re shunted off to the untelevised afternoon ceremony.