Oscars Memes: Meryl Streep’s Reaction to Will Smith’s Slap

1

Reaction memes often succeed by being humorous or featuring sociocritical commentary; this makes them more durable than topical or social memes.

The live slug meme indoctrinates members of the queer digital community into an explicit discourse that regulates how they think and express their sexual desires.

The Meryl Streep Face

Meryl Streep is one of Hollywood’s most beloved and adored actresses, making her an ideal meme target. From supporting fellow nominee Debbie Reynolds at the 2015 SAG Awards to recalling Miranda Priestly with GIFs based on their impeccably manicured fist to the real-life role as Katharine Graham in Steven Spielberg’s 2017 political drama – Streep has long been a source of meme-worthy moments, so it should come as no surprise that her reaction to what will undoubtedly go down in history as Oscars mishap has turned into its meme all its right; take a look for yourself below!

The Will Smith Slap

Will Smith is best known for the iconic Oscars moment that took place during the 94th Academy Awards when he slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith shaving her head due to alopecia areata since 2021. This action caused great outrage and led to discussions regarding what public protectors can be expected to provide their constituents.

The Will Smith Slap was so controversial that the Academy barred Smith and Rock from appearing on Oscars telecast for an entire year as punishment, although popular culture continued to remember this momentous event well after the Academy made this decision. Still, the moment may no longer have its full prominence.

Rock and Smith have not been particularly close since the incident occurred. Indeed, in an episode called “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” which aired on Netflix in 2023, Chris Rock openly criticized Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith for their relationship with singer August Alsina; Rock also mocked Jada’s decision to shave her head during this special, suggesting if it were him as Will’s husband that it would also happen.

Smith appears to be still angry over what transpired at the Oscars, even after numerous apologies and using his platform to address violence against women and violence against girls in general. Recently, he uploaded a YouTube video where he spoke out against this act and how it has affected him and his family.

Emancipation was released to theaters in 2022 and stars Smith as Peter, a runaway slave escaping hunters and the Louisiana swamp towards joining the Union Army. It provides an insightful look into the struggle of African Americans and has reignited conversations about his role in protecting his wife.

The Oscars Slap

One year later, it remains a topic of conversation: at the 2022 Oscars, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage for making jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith’s decision to keep her head bald as part of her battle with Alopecia. It became known as “The Slap Heard Around the World,” overshadowing everything at that year’s ceremony and sparking widespread condemnation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Smith was banned from future Academy events for ten years as punishment.

That moment set the stage for this year’s Oscars, which was untidy from start to finish and chaotic overall despite all efforts made by the Academy to revamp their show in response to the #OscarsSoWhite outrage. Without even considering that people were dying during live broadcasts or that it couldn’t even stay within three hours’ running time!

The 2023 Oscars did sidestep some of last year’s missteps and create some truly astounding moments like Forest Whitaker winning best actor for The Last King of Scotland and CODA’s Troy Kotsur dedicating his win to deaf community organizations. But everyone is talking about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and what that says about both men as individuals as well as the Academy Awards itself.

Rock addressed the slap in his recent standup show and used it to illustrate some important points about how many people of color react when jokes about women and other marginalized groups are made. Additionally, he stressed the need for these issues not to snowball into more significant problems – an excellent reminder that while slapping itself may be controversial, its broader issues concerning how we respond to sexism and other forms of oppression aren’t.

The Oscars Memes

Oscars Memes

When hundreds of celebrities gather together in one room with unlimited alcohol, something spectacular inevitably ensues. That was certainly the case at Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony: from Timothee Chalamet’s shirtless suit and Billie Eilish’s captivating performance to Parasite winning Best Short Film (in a surprise win!), all eyes were watching for stunning looks and hilarious celebrity reactions.

Jimmy Kimmel provided some snarky memes during the show thanks to his unsettling jokes about Will Smith’s slap drama and even broached the subject of Scientology with Tom Cruise; there were genuine laughs, too, like when Kimmel immersed himself into an elaborate superhero skit which brought on Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield who immediately responded in style – creating yet more memes from that response alone!

Garfield was no stranger to Oscars memes; last year, he made headlines when caught nonchalantly texting during Will Smith’s famous slap and later made it into the Oscars Slap meme. So it should come as no surprise that his popularity would again shine at this year’s awards, cementing his spot as the front-runner for reaction GIF of the night.

Garfield quickly made waves online, with many comparing his reaction gif to previous reaction memes like “Crying Justin Bieber” and “Awkward Miley Cyrus.” Others also observed how his look of indifference during Green Book’s win could serve as an illustration of how people typically react when good news arrives.

While Oscars appearances often spark memes and generate attention online, it’s relatively unusual for something that occurs live to go viral all on its own. Yet this shows that nothing can predict what may catch people’s eye online – particularly when it comes to celebrities doing something unconventional or remarkable.