Despite a solid starta lot of jokes at the 2022 Oscars fell flat — and Chris Rock wasn’t the only comedian who facilitated a truly uncomfortable moment.
Amy Schumer also did a bit during the ceremony in which she made Best Supporting Actress nominee Kirsten Dunst the butt of a bad joke that not only misread the room, but attempted to downplay the significance of Dunst’s nomination.
During the ceremony — and after actor Will Smith slapped Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head after years of her discussing her insecurities with alopecia — Schumer decided to make a joke about seat fillers.
The comedian and Oscars co-host set up the joke by trying to explain seat fillers — non-famous people who hold celebrities’ seats when they need to leave the room. But she must have thought a demonstration would make more sense.
She then approached “The Power of the Dog” star and Best Supporting Actor nominee Jesse Plemons, who was sitting next to his wife, Dunst, who was nominated for the same movie.
“OK, here’s a seat filler. Honey, do you want to go to the bathroom?” Schumer said, grabbing Dunst’s hand and pulling her out of her seat.
Schumer then sat in Dunst’s seat and leaned over to Plemons.
“Jesse I loved you in ‘Power of the Dog,’” Schumer said.
“You know, that was my wife, Amy,” said Plemons, seemingly unamused.
“You’re married to that seat filler?” Schumer said, trying to lighten the awkward moment.
It was unclear if the bit was staged, but considering it followed Smith’s slap, many people online were quick to compare Plemons’ reaction to his wife being used as a comedy punchline with Smith’s.
But other Twitter users found the cringe-worthy moment for a completely different reason.
Dunst’s Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in “The Power of the Dog” was her first Oscar nod. During her three-decade Hollywood career, she has been open about how she’s often felt dismissed by the industry despite critically acclaimed performance in films like “The Virgin Suicides,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Melancholia.”
“I don’t know, maybe they just think I’m the girl from ‘Bring It On,’” Dunst said of her starring role in the cult-classic film while speaking with SiriusXM host Larry Flick on his show “In Depth With Larry Flick” in 2019.
Meanwhile, her real-life partner Plemons has long been considered a legitimately talented actor since he followed up his beloved role in early aughts drama “Friday Night Lights” with a part in the critically acclaimed series “Breaking Bad.”
Although it was the first Oscar nomination for both Plemons and Dunst (and neither took home the coveted prize for their individual categories), considering the stigma Dunst has had to face in his industry, perhaps the joke would’ve landed better if Schumer had shooed Plemons out of his seat.