Will Smith did what?
This weekend’s Oscars betting will not be remembered as it has been in years past.
The biggest storyline from the night was Will Smith slapping host Chris Rock across the face for a joke directed at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith’s outburst prompted Rami Malek to place a $20 wager that Smith, winner of the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard, would not apologize for striking Rock; what a mouthful of a sentence. Only at the Oscars.
A wild night at the Oscars
If you had “Freddie Mercury gambling on a Men in Black agent smacking Marty the Zebra” on your bingo card, go ahead and scratch that one off.
The ordeal was prompted by Rock, who addressed Jada Pinkett Smith, saying “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to the 1997 film G.I. Jane, for which star Demi Moore famously shaved her head. Pinkett Smith has lost her hair as a result of alopecia and has been candid about her difficulties since 2018.
Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”
Upon hearing the joke, Will Smith laughed, but his wife appeared upset. He then walked on stage and slapped Rock. Rock responded with a quick “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”
Smith, having returned to his front-row seat, twice shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out your f****** mouth.”
The inconceivable drama of this moment has prompted many to speculate whether it was staged or not. However, Smith has had a history of tension with Rock, who also took shots at his wife in 2016.
Pinkett Smith boycotted the 2016 Oscars as part of the “Oscars So White” movement; Rock publicly responded by saying that “she can’t boycott something she wasn’t invited to.”
Will Smith also did not attend the ceremony after he was not nominated for his lead role in Concussion.
“It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West,” said Rock upon hearing Smith’s reasoning.
Not exactly your standard Oscars betting
The Academy Awards normally have a huge gambling market. Its growth in popularity has coincided with massive developments in the sports betting market, currently highlighted by March Madness.
One of the best stories outside of the usual gambling market came from TheWrap, which reported on a brief conversation involving actor Rami Malek, who had also presented at the Oscars earlier in the evening.
Twenty bucks says [Will Smith] doesn’t apologize.”
Chatting with Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell at the bar just outside the Dolby Theater auditorium, the Mr. Robot star said: “Twenty bucks says [Will Smith] doesn’t apologize.”
“I’ll take that,” replied Whitesell, as they and a sizeable crowd anxiously awaited Smith’s acceptance speech for the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard. “Twenty bucks says he does.”
Will Smith did apologize during his speech, but only to the Academy and his fellow nominees, not to Chris Rock.
Rock said that he is not going to press charges, although there could be repercussions from the Oscars itself. One anonymous attendee was especially disappointed, stating the following: “[a]fter all that we are trying to do to create change…And this Oscar’s was so diverse.”
The exchange has spilled over into the sports world, with personalities Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe relaying their thoughts.
Jaden Smith also took to Twitter to defend his father’s actions.
During his speech, Smith said a few important things. Number one: “in this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you, you gotta smile and pretend like that’s okay…at your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Smith also said that he looked like a “crazy dad” and that “love will make you do crazy things.”