HOLLYWOOD—Only in Hollywood! Will Smith went from a beloved film celebrity to Hollywood villain when he slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars last weekend. He unfortunately, has done permanent damage to his image and career. What happens next? After the Oscars ended, Will hoped he had nipped the fallout from his slap in the bud. His tearful best actor acceptance speech, in which he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees and tried to frame himself as a defender of his family, landed him a standing ovation.
He later made a show of posing and dancing with his Best Actor statuette at the after-show party in classic big Willy style, as if nothing ever happened. Or as if he was relieved to have ridden out the storm. However, he woke up the following day and the storm hadn’t passed. It only intensified as people took stock of his violent behavior. The movie star brand for Will Smith is badly tarnished. Smith-known for hits like “Men in Black,” “Independence Day” and “Bad Boys” has done huge damage to his image.
People were absolutely shocked by his rather peculiar acceptance speech and dancing as if he had not a care in the world at the Vanity Fair party. The 53-year-old star had no history of causing trouble and was known to be generous with fellow cast members. Many people have said they can’t look at him the same way again. So what’s next for Will Smith? There may be charity work, a public announcement of therapy or anger management, and the obligatory confessional interview, or perhaps on his family’s Facebook chat show Red Table Talk.
That is where he and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith came clean about their relationship issues in 2020, which is the closest he has come to scandal in the past. It is also where Pinkett Smith opened up about her alopecia-the hair loss condition that was at the nub of her husband’s Oscars outburst-and where Kevin Hart talked about quitting as host of the 2019 Oscars.
Smith has a number of films in the works that have now been thrown into uncertainty. They include “Bad Boys 4,” “Bright 2” and Apple’s “Emancipation,” in which he plays a runaway slave. Other Hollywood stars who have fallen from grace may offer clues about what comes next, even if the circumstances of their behavior differ. Johnny Depp lost his role in the third “Fantastic Beasts” film after losing a libel case over a newspaper article that called him a wife beater. But he kept his Christian Dior adverts and a die-hard fanbase who have continued to support him at every turn.
He has also just been cast in his first film since the libel trial, a French production in which he will play Louis XV. Mel Gibson has been hit by scandal after scandal, once admitting a drunken anti-Semitic outburst in 2006, and in 2010 when leaked tapes emerged of a tirade including racist insults against his then-girlfriend, who accused him of physical abuse. He was eventually welcomed back by Hollywood-and was nominated for an Oscar in 2017. Smith’s career on the other hand, may be wounded, but, if he can reconcile with Hollywood, it’s not necessarily over. The final words of his acceptance speech were: “I hope the Academy invites me back.” A little hard to do now, since he resigned from the Oscars Academy.
The chances of him being asked to present the Best Actress award at the 2023 Oscars-as the previous year’s Best Actor winner would traditionally do-appear slim to none. Very unlikely that he will be forced to hand back the golden statuette he won either. Police didn’t arrest Smith after consulting with Chris Rock, but have said they could file a report at a later date if the comedian changes his mind.
Rose’s Scoop: Despite that, Academy bosses said their disciplinary proceedings would continue and will discuss any further action on April 18. In his resignation letter, the actor hinted that he wants to move forward, saying he’s committed to doing the work to ensure that he never will allow violence to overtake reason.