The 2002 and 2022 Best Actress winners, respectively, fulfilled one important duty that Smith likely would've been responsible for at this year's show—had he not received a 10-year ban from Academy events for slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 ceremony.
It's an Oscars tradition that the reigning Best Actor winner usually presents the Best Actress trophy at the next year's show. But since Smith—who took home the trophy in 2022 for King Richard—was forbidden to attend, the award show producers tapped Berry and Chastain to hand out the prize.
The duo stepped onto the stage to read the envelope and announce the Best Actress winner at the glitzy event at the Dolby Theatre on March 12. The nominees were Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), who took home the trophy. See all the 2023 Oscars winners here.
Smith sparked controversy during the 2022 Oscars after he took the stage and slapped Rock in a now-infamous altercation after the comedian's joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair loss. Moments later, Smith took home the Best Actor trophy and noted in his speech, "I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees."
The following month, the Academy announced that Smith would be barred from attending the show for the next decade.
"During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry," Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson shared in a statement last year. "This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short—unprepared for the unprecedented."
They said the ban was a "step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy." (This year, the Academy put together a "crisis team" to help navigate future shows.)
Smith said at the time that he "accepts and respect the Academy's decision."
As for Rock, he recently shared more of his thoughts on the debacle, explaining in his Netflix special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage why he didn't have a greater reaction on stage that night.
"A lot of people like, ‘How come you didn't do nothing back that night?'" he said on the show, released March 4. "Cause I got parents. Cause I was raised. You know what my parents taught me? Don't fight in front of white people."
To see more stars step out at the 2023 Oscars, keep reading...