How The 2023 Oscars Addressed Will Smith’s Chris Rock Slap—One Year Later


Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel spent part of his opening monologue on Sunday cracking jokes about—what else?—Will Smith slapping Chris Rock last year, though the host didn’t name either side in the most infamous feud in Oscars history.

Key Facts

During his monologue, Kimmel joked, “five Irish actors are nominated tonight. The odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”

He continued, “If anyone commits an act of violence during the show, you will be given the Oscar for best actor and be permitted to give a 19 minute speech.”

In his most pointed joke, Kimmel warned audience members against going on stage and getting “jiggy with it,” a reference to Smith’s 1997 song “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.”

Kimmel skewered the Academy, noting the group did “nothing” when Smith slapped Rock.

When introducing presenters of the Best Documentary Feature award–the same award Rock was presenting when Smith slapped him–Kimmel joked that this year’s presentation should go off “without a hitch,” and “without Hitch,” Smith’s 2005 movie.

Key Background

When presenting an award at the 2022 ceremony, Rock ad-libbed a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife. Smith yelled at Rock, and then got on stage and slapped him. He was not escorted from the ceremony, and was allowed to accept an Oscar for Best Actor moments later. Smith resigned as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was barred from attending the group’s events for the next 10 years. Kimmel told the Hollywood Reporter he would bring up the one-year-old incident in this year’s show. “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.”

Further Reading

Academy Awards 2023: See The Oscars Winners (Updating Live) (Forbes)

Will Smith Can’t Present Best Actress Award At Oscars After Chris Rock Slap—And Nobody Knows Who Will (Forbes)