Hollywood came to a collective standstill when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards. Although Rock was able to remain relatively composed immediately after the altercation, he was initially reluctant to discuss the incident. A few days later, the comedian embarked on his Ego Death World Tour, where viewers eagerly awaited his reaction to his punch on live television.
“I don’t have a lot of sh*** about what happened. So if you came to hear that, I have an entire show that I wrote ahead of this weekend and I’m still processing what happened,” the Spiral star told a crowd in late March, per IndieWire. Although Rock had hinted he would eventually have material on the infamous slap. “Well, at some point I’ll talk about it. And it’s going to be serious and it’s going to be funny.” Later in the year, the stand-up comic joked about the Smith incident while performing. “Anyone who says hurt words has never been slapped in the face,” Rock told a crowd on July 24, per Us Weekly. “But I shrugged that off and went to work the next day,” he added jokingly.
Not long after that comedy set, Smith took to Instagram to issue a video apology on July 29, letting Rock know he wanted to move on from the incident. Not only has the ‘King Richard’ star been banned from the upcoming Oscars, he’s unlikely to be a topic of conversation during the show.
The academy hopes for ‘moving forward’
Viewers hoping for comment about Will Smith’s slap at the 2023 Academy Awards will be disappointed as the Academy declined to draw more attention to the controversial moment that tainted the ceremony. “We want to move forward and have an Oscars that celebrates cinema. That’s what our focus is now, but it’s really about moving forward,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer told the press during an Aug. 25 roundtable when asked if Smith’s fiasco was beating Chris Rock. would be addressed according to People. The academy didn’t want to highlight the debacle on stage. “We want to return to a show that honors the film in 95 years of Academy Awards,” added Kramer.
The Academy’s CEO took up his position in July after taking over from Dawn Hudson, hinting at “some announcements soon” about the upcoming show, according to People. He also mentioned that the academy “made a commitment to have a host,” but gave no indication of who might take on the job. A few months earlier, there was speculation that Rock might be in line to host the prestigious awards show, according to a May deadline interview with ABC entertainment president Craig Erwich.
It may not be discussed during the 2023 Oscars, but after announcing that the “Bad Boys” star would be sidelined from the Oscars for a decade, the Academy said in a statement that they were “remorseful” that they didn’t do the slap immediately after it happened, per Entertainment Weekly.