It was the slap seen round the world. A year later, how will the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock be handled at the 2023 Oscars?
To recap, the 2022 Oscars ceremony, which aired on March 27, sent shockwaves when Will Smith took the stage and hit presenter Chris Rock.
The comedian had just made a reference to Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. Pinkett Smith has been open about her experience with alopecia.
Later on in the evening, Smith accepted his first Oscar, earned for best actor for his work in "King Richard." He issued a formal apology the next day. Rock shared his side of the story in a Netflix stand-up special released nearly a year later, in March 2023.
Smith will not be at the 2023 awards ceremony. Following the assault, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences board of governors has banned Will Smith from all its events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
With the Oscars approaching, people are revisiting the headline-making event. Speaking to Variety, Goldie Hawn said she thought it was "indicative of our culture."
“I mean, you could look at it and say, ‘What the hell just happened?’ Somebody lost control," she said. "They lost their self-regulation. Their bigger brain wasn’t thinking, and they did something that was horrendous and also showed no remorse. That, to me, is a microcosm oftentimes of our world.”
Here's what we know so far. This post will be updated as the night unfolds.
What has the Academy said about how the Oscars will address 'The Slap'?
At a press conference, per Variety, this year's Oscars executive producer Molly McNearney said Smith would be addressed, but not dwelled upon.
“We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on. We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion," she said.
How did Jimmy Kimmel mention 'The Slap' in his opening monologue?
In short, yes — Kimmel, who is hosting for the third year in a row, told The Hollywood Reporter it would be "ridiculous" not to mention "The Slap" in his speech.
"Well, whatever I say about it, it’s going to have to be great, right? Because so much has been said and there’s so much focus on it. I obviously don’t want to make the whole monologue about that, but it would be ridiculous not to mention it," he said.
Indeed, he mentioned the incident in his speech — and the lack of a response.
“If anyone commits an act of violence during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute speech,” Kimmel said.
“If anything unpredictable or wild happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing,” he continued.
If Will Smith isn't at the Oscars, who will present best actress?
Typically, the previous year's best actor winner presents that year's best actress winner. With Smith not attending, that won't happen. All eyes are on who, among the presenters, will take the stage to present the award to the nominees.
The nominees are Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans") and Michelle Yeoh ("Everything Everywhere All at Once").