By ANDREW DALTON and LINDSEY BAHR
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Will Smith happily danced with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and their family at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, waving his Best Actor trophy in the air like he didn’t care as he rapped with a mash-up of his own songs, from “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” to “Summertime.”
The only sign of the ugliness that came crashing down four hours before – when Smith strode onto the stage at the Dolby Theater and slapped Chris Rock for a joke about his wife’s hair, then delivered a tearful acceptance speech minutes later – it was the disproportionate attention given to the actor at a night where the big stars and the new Oscar winners were everywhere.
He was mobbed by people filming the scene and crowding next to him for selfies.
“Congratulations Will Smith, I love you!” shouted DJ D-Nice as he spun the medley.
“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah gave Smith a long hug, whispering in his ear as Smith laughed.
The crowd followed as Smith and his entourage walked through the party. Smith slammed Oscar statuettes with other winners and stopped to accept congratulations and pose for photos with Timothée Chalamet.
Smith held his Oscar triumphantly in the air as he got into an SUV to leave after the party’s brief visit.
Her son Jaden Smith, who stayed behind to party with friends, shouted “I love you!” You did it!”
The shocking slap and its aftermath remained in the air and dominated conversations at post-Oscar parties, as well as on social media and across much of the country.
At the Governors Ball, which takes place upstairs at the Dolby Theater immediately after the show, joy and tension were in the room. Many were excited to eat, drink and have their Oscars burned. Many more were still processing what happened onstage, though few were ready to publicly express their feelings about it. Rock did not appear at either party.
Kodi Smit-McPhee, a supporting actor nominated for ‘The Power of the Dog,’ said he was happy for Best Director winner Jane Campion and excited to celebrate, but “still calculating what happened” with Smith and Rock.
“I’m going to have to go home and do my research,” Smit-McPhee said.
Tracee Ellis-Ross stopped by to have a chat with Questlove, whose documentary “Summer of Soul” won following the incident. She told him that he had done very well and that she was “really sorry that happened”.
At the Vanity Fair party before Smith’s arrival, Andrew Garfield, who lost Best Actor to Smith, was introduced to Serena Williams, executive producer of “King Richard,” the biopic about her and her sister Venus which earned Smith his Oscar for playing their father.
“Nice to meet you,” Garfield said. “I’m so sorry for tonight.”
That said, they skipped topics to talk about tennis.
Other corners of the parties were like any other Oscar party.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation resumed its viewing party on the 30th anniversary of its premiere. Brandi Carlile performed at the West Hollywood event hosted by Lady Gaga, Billy Porter and Eric McCormack.
At the Governor’s Ball, Anthony Hopkins danced while actor Riz Ahmed chatted with “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve. John Travolta posed with people taking selfies and Emilia Jones watched his “CODA” co-star Troy Kotsur have his statuette engraved while “Dancing Queen” played in the background.
Before Smith arrived at the Vanity Fair Party, Bill Murray, wearing a beret, jumped up and down a nearly empty dance floor to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” Sofia Coppola guided Father Francis Ford Coppola by the arm through the crowd.
‘Game of Thrones’ actress Sophie Turner and her husband, musician Joe Jonas, hung out near the bar. Actress Isla Fisher, leaving the party with her husband Sacha Baron Cohen, shouted as Wanda Sykes arrived that she had “killed” him as one of the three Oscars hosts.
Billie Eilish and Kotsur smiled as they held their first Oscars and relaxed with friends as the party started to thin out.
Other winners with far less famous faces reveled in the instant invitation the trophy gives you to Vanity Fair’s soiree, the almost annual gala – returning this year after a pandemic sabbatical – hosted by the editor-in-chief. by Radhika Jones magazine in an indoor-outdoor space between the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Beverly Hills City Hall.
As always, guests gorged on In-N-Out burgers, the traditional dish at a party that’s all about chilling out and releasing tension.
Bahr reported from Los Angeles.