Oscar-winning producer Joseph Patel has shared his experience from Sunday night, accepting the award for Best Documentary Feature in the immediate aftermath of Will Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock across the face. In a long Twitter thread, the Summer Of Soul (Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised…) producer called Smith’s actions “selfish,” but reserved harsher criticism for Rock who he says was “an absolute f***ing dick.”
When Rock announced the winner in the category was the Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson-directed Searchlight pic, he introduced Thompson and “four white guys.” On Twitter, Patel, who is of South Asian descent, exclaimed, “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F***????? The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award.”
He added, “I’m angry. Angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers. I got back home to New York last night and saw the ceremony on my DVR and didn’t have the stomach to watch it. I probably never will. Thank you, Chris – You absolute f***ing dick.”
Patel earlier wrote that he had been “drunk with joy” since the Oscar win but that it had taken “a few days to process everything” and went on to describe the events.
“Once we realized the Chris Rock/Will Smith interaction wasn’t a bit, everything got turned upside down. Everyone was still trying to make sense of it when Chris persevered & started to read the nominees… What I didn’t hear in that moment walking to stage but was told of afterwards is what Chris Rock said when reading our name from the winner’s card – The winner is “Summer of Soul… Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and… 4 white guys.” WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F***?????”
Patel explained he had been “ecstatic” to be the third South Asian to win that night, along with Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia who took the Live Action Short prize earlier for The Long Goodbye. “3 South Asians winning on the same night – that’s never happened before! And it’s meaningful! It’s history!”
Patel added, “I’m a big boy – I can take a joke. Comedians make jokes. But not in that moment. What a shitty, disrespectful thing to do. AND HERE’S THE THING… It wasn’t that Chris Rock was under stress. He made the same joke the night before on stage at the Roots Jam!”
Concluded Patel, “I know that what happened with the ceremony and the achievement of winning an Oscar will separate over time… I never need a statue to tell me how nice I am – but it sure helps. And what both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us. FIN.”
Here’s Patel’s Twitter thread, and below it a little support from Ben Stiller as other famous names begin to weigh in:
Ok, here we go with some thoughts and feelings on what happened Sunday night, “the Slap,” if you will. [thread]
— joseph monish patel (@jazzbeezy) March 31, 2022
Your movie will live on long after all this fades away. It’s beautiful and moving and it’s really what love is about.
— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) March 31, 2022