Nicole Kidman’s Oscar reaction sets off meme machine on social media

Important update:

According to, the photo was not actually a reaction to “the Oscar slap.” We have updated the headline to reflect this:

 We reached out to the photo’s photographer, Myung Chun of the Los Angeles Times, and asked if he remembered what it was that Kidman was reacting to, and he wrote back, “Yes, the picture of Nicole Kidman was taken during the non-televised portion. It appeared that she was excited to see Jessica Chastain across the room. Kidman then reached out her arms and waved to her with both hands.” We agree that this is the exact right level of excitement with which to greet Jessica Chastain when she enters a space. “Shortly thereafter, Chastain walked over to greet Kidman and her husband Keith Urban,” Chun added.

It’s often said that Hollywood celebrities live in an elite bubble detached from reality and that assessment played out in real time Sunday night in what has to be the most surreal moment in the history of live award shows.

Actor and megastar Will Smith assaulted comedian Chris Rock on national television, violently smacking him in the mouth for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, screaming profanities along the way, only to then go on to win an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, in which he portrayed Venus and Serena Williams’ father, and then close the night out partying the night away at the Vanity Fair bash where he rapped and danced with friends.

And while there was zero real world accountability for his violent outburst, viewers at home had to wonder if the incident was staged, but the purported reaction by actress Nicole Kidman might be the first clue that it was not part of the show:

After joking about celebrity couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, Chris Rock turned his attention to Smith and Pinkett-Smith to joke about her starring in G.I. Jane 2 because of her hair — Jada has struggled with hair loss as a result of an alopecia diagnosis.

Smith calmly stood up, walked up to Rock and smacked him in the face, returning to his seat before screaming twice, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth!”

“Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me,” a stunned Chris Rock said, maintaining his composure after being assaulted.

While the profanity was censored in the U.S., Australian television carried it live – Caution: Adult Language

As might be expected the incident was all the rage online, but so too was Nicole Kidman’s dramatic front row reaction

Tom Tillison


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