Well that wasn’t just any awards show.
In many ways, the Oscars went as expected: “Dune” swept up the most awards. Jessica Chastain won best actress. And hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall brought the energy. But at one point presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, comparing it to “GI Jane.” It’s worth noting: Smith suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that can lead to hair loss. In response to the comment, husband Will Smith walked onstage and hit Chris Rock in the face.
Right. The incident had some questioning whether the moment was staged. And whether Smith would face charges (so far: no). Smith went on to win best actor for his role in “King Richard.” He used the moment to apologize to the Academy and to the other nominees. But not to Chris Rock. He also seemed to be defending his actions, saying, “love will make you do crazy things.” One thing we do know: the incident not only overshadowed his win, but some of the other moments of the night.
“CODA” won best picture — a big win for deaf representation in film. And the first time a streaming service (hi, Apple) took top prize. Ariana DeBose made history for the queer and Afro-Latina community. And noted that there is a place for everyone. Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar for acting. And had the audience signing their applause. And there were lighter moments, too. Megan Thee Stallion rapped about Bruno. And Billie Eilish should probably be the next James Bond.
This was supposed to be the first normal Oscars since the beginning of the pandemic. That didn’t happen.
The Biden admin. On Saturday, President Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power." The comments came at the end of Biden's days-long trip in Europe to rally US allies over the Russian invasion in Ukraine. The comment — which many interpreted as the US calling for a regime change — was not included in his prepared remarks. The White House since tried to backpedal and say he wasn’t advocating a regime change. But the damage was already done. A Kremlin spokesperson said the “personal insults” narrow the window for diplomatic relations. And that “only Russians, who vote for their president” can decide who rules Russia — not Biden nor Americans.
The Iowa caucuses. Today, Dems will talk about a proposal that could potentially leave Iowa out as the party’s first-in-the-nation status. Since 1972, voters in Iowa were the first in an election year to get together in person to discuss the candidates and decide who to support. The caucuses historically set the stage for the rest of the primary season, giving the winning primary candidate momentum (and some delegates). But Iowa is one of the least diverse states in the country. Not to mention, the 2020 Iowa caucuses were a certified disaster (think: technical issues, needing to rely on a coin toss, and a caucus poll abruptly canceled a day before). Up next: If the proposal is accepted, other states will have a few weeks to submit apps to take the early window.
RaDonda Vaught. Last week, the former Tennessee nurse was found guilty of negligent homicide. In 2017, Vaught's then 75-year-old patient died after the nurse injected her with the wrong medication. Vaught had ignored the warning signs. And acknowledged her error. But nurses say mistakes are inevitable. And medical errors are usually handled in civil courts meaning a criminal prosecution like this is extremely rare. Now, some experts and associations are worried the conviction could set a precedent — and discourage other nurses from owning up to their mistakes. The news comes as nurses already face short-staffing after over two years of the pandemic. Vaught is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
The Final Four. March Madness is whittling down to the top teams in college basketball. Old rivals will meet again with UNC and Duke facing off after the Tar Heels’ win on Sunday. And the women's teams find out their Final Four tonight. Dribble, dribble.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Melanie De Lima, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain, and Mariza Smajlaj
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