The team behind the Oscars 2023 have revealed how they’re planning on addressing last year’s incident with Will Smith slapping host Chris Rock.
During the 2022 ceremony, Smith stormed the stage and hit Rock, after the comedian made a comment about Jada Pinkett-Smith, who was also in attendance.
Following a number of apologies directed towards Rock and the organisers, Smith resigned from the Academy. He was later banned from attending all Academy events for 10 years.
During a press conference earlier this week (March 8) executive producer for the Oscars 2023 Molly McNearney said (via Unilad): “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 continued.
Showrunner Ricky Kirshner said that the 95th Academy Awards, which take place in Los Angeles on Sunday (March 12), will be about “honouring the crafts and what it takes to make a movie.”
“We’ve rethought the show and we’ve got presenters that make sense for the categories. There’s no more, ‘This is what we used to do’,” he added.
It was previously revealed that the ceremony will have a crisis team on standby. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer told TIME Magazine: “Because of [the slap] last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that Will Smith has “tried unsuccessfully” to make amends with Chris Rock.
Last weekend also saw Rock address the incident at length for the first time during a live Netflix special.
“Everybody knows it happened,” Rock said. “I got smacked a year ago. I got smacked at the Oscars by this motherfucker. And people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I’ve got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ear.”
He added: “I loved Will Smith my whole life. I saw him open up for Run DMC, [DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince] made brand new funk. He’s made some great movies. I’ve rooted for Will Smith my whole life. And now I watch Emancipation just to see him get whooped.”