While not many people watched last year’s Oscars, everyone knows what happened: Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for playing Tammy Faye Bakker. Okay, so that happened, but the much more notable event that occurred was that Will Smith, everyone’s favorite Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, slapped Chris Rock onstage in front of millions of people.
Now known as “The Slap”, the incident had immediate repercussions. Smith was kicked out of the Academy for 10 years, and some of his film projects were delayed or canceled entirely. Rock went under the radar for a while and only in March did he comment directly on the incident in a popular Netflix comedy special, selective outrage. With the 2023 Oscars just around the corner, many people wonder if the suicide squad The actor will attend the ceremony this year. After all, it’s a tradition for the winner of the Best Actor award to return the following year to present the Best Actress award. So will Smith be at the 95th Annual Academy Awards?
The answer is simple… and complicated
The short answer is no. The Academy has no plans to break its ban and let Smith return to attend the ceremony. That doesn’t mean the 2023 Oscars won’t address what happened last year. At a press conference earlier this week, executive producer Molly McNearney announced: “We’re going to acknowledge it and then move on.” She added: “We don’t want to make this year last year. It’s certainly something we can and will approach in a comedic way.”
At the very least, expect a few jokes here and there, as comedians probably can’t resist poking fun at the incident. Who knows, maybe Chris Rock will make a surprise appearance and make some joke about it as a way to get everyone to “move on.”
A distant but still possible scenario is the return of Smith himself. After all, before “The Slap,” the Academy’s most embarrassing moment was when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong Best Picture winner in 2017. That incident, now known as “Envelopegate,” involved Dunaway reading for mistake the envelope for Best Actress for Emma Stone. for the the earth instead of the Best Picture envelope, which revealed that the winner would be Moonlight. However, just a year later, the Academy brought Dunaway and Beatty back to present the Best Picture Oscar to Guillermo Del Toro. the shape of water.
If the Academy was willing to bring back the perpetrators of one of its biggest public embarrassments so soon, it’s not out of the realm of improbability that they might be planning to secretly bring Smith back to make amends. It might be the best way for everyone involved to move on.