Questlove Felt ‘Odd’ Accepting Best Documentary Oscar After Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock
According to Page Six on Monday (March 28), the Roots drummer, along with his producing partners of the winning documentary Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), were thrilled to win the Best Documentary Oscar at the 2022 Academy Awards on Sunday night (March 27) in Los Angeles, but found the situation “odd.”
“What can one say? The air was taken out of the room by everyone, so how can it not affect the moment?” an insider told the publication.
“I think everyone was stunned. It was a stunning moment. ...It was an odd moment,” the source added.
It was more of a shocking moment at the 2022 Oscars ceremony. As previously reported, Rock was onstage presenting the award for Best Documentary when he made a joke regarding Jada Pinkett Smith’s low-cropped haircut, comparing it to Demi Moore’s character in the film G.I. Jane. Jada was noticeably not feeling the joke as she rolled her eyes. It’s unclear if Rock was familiar with Jada’s struggles with alopecia when he made the wisecrack.
As Rock attempted to proceed with his presentation, Smith approached the stage, walked up to Rock and slapped him in the face. Most live broadcasts of the show censored the audio of the moment, as the actor walked back to his seat and yelled back at Rock, "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth."
Rock, noticeably stunned in disbelief, said, “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke.”
Smith, who later won the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard, yelled back again, "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth," to which Rock replied, “I’m going to, OK?”
Rock proceeded to present the Best Documentary nominees and eventually announced that Questlove’s Summer of Soul was the winner. Summer of Soul documents the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a six-week concert lineup that feature performances from Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, the 5th Dimension, the late Nina Simone and many others. Despite the powerhouse performances, which the documentary explores, it was barely covered by media outlets.
Questlove—flanked by his fellow documentary producers Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein—was visibly emotional during his acceptance speech in which he thanked his parents and got choked up when he mentioned his late father, musician Lee Andrews, who died in 2016.
“It’s not lost on me that the story of the Harlem Cultural Festival should have been something that my beautiful mother and my dad should have taken me to when I was 5 years old,” he said holding his golden Oscar trophy in his hands. “This is such a stunning moment for me right now. But it’s not about me. It’s about marginalized people in Harlem that needed to heal from pain.
"Just know in 2022, this is not just a 1969 story about marginalized people in Harlem. This is a story of ...I’m sorry, I’m just overwhelmed right now,” Quest added before pausing to regain his composure. “I’m gonna get myself together and thank everyone proper when I get offstage."
Congrats to Questlove and the producers of Summer of Soul on winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary.