Every Time Jimmy Kimmel and the 2023 Oscars Addressed Will Smith's Slap

One year after Will Smith shocked the world when he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, host Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at the unforgettable scandal on more than one occasion.

By Mike Vulpo Mar 13, 2023 4:14 AMTags

You better believe the 2023 Oscars are going to talk about it.

One year after Will Smith made headlines for slapping presenter Chris Rock inside the Dolby Theatre, the Academy's annual telecast couldn't help but address the scandal in a few unique ways. 

Jimmy Kimmel began his monologue reminding the audience that everyone wants them to be safe. "We have strict policies in place," he said. "If anyone in this theatre commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech."

But seriously, the Academy now has a crisis team in place just in case things get a little shocking. 

"If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year. Nothing," Jimmy joked. "Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug. And if any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to get jiggy with it—it's not going to be easy."

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Later in the first hour, Jimmy helped introduce two presenters for the Best Documentary Feature category, which is where "we had that little skirmish last year."

"Hopefully this time it goes off without a hitch, or at least without Hitch," Jimmy joked while acknowledging Will's 2005 movie. "Please put your hands together and then keep them to yourself for Oscar winners Riz Ahmed and Questlove." 

Rich Polk/Variety via Getty Images

Nearly two hours into the show, Jimmy also acknowledged the show's progress. But was there something missing from the live event?

"How are you guys holding up? Everybody okay? You're hanging in there?" he asked from the stage. "I put food under your seats, I don't know if you noticed it. This point in the show kind of makes you miss the slapping a little, right?" 

Rich Polk/Variety via Getty Images

And while Oscar tradition typically has the reigning Best Actor winner presenting the Best Actress trophy at the next year's show, 2023's telecast was a little different. 

Halle Berry and Jessica Chastain subbed in for Will when they presented this year's award to Michelle Yeoh for her performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

For those who somehow forgot, the 2022 Oscars telecast got a little crazy when Chris took to the stage to present the winner of Best Documentary.

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After delivering a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris was approached by Will Smith, who slapped the comedian on live TV. The moment sent shockwaves around the world, with the Academy banning Will from the Oscars for 10 years.

As for Will, he reflected on the incident four months later by delivering an apology to all those who were affected.  

"I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out," Will wrote on Instagram in July 2022. "So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable. And I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

More recently, Chris addressed the infamous incident during Netflix's live-streamed comedy special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage on March 4.

"A lot of people like, ‘How come you didn't do nothing back that night?'" Chris said. "Cause I got parents. Cause I was raised. You know what my parents taught me? Don't fight in front of white people."

The 2024 Academy Awards air live Sunday, March 10, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. ET/4 to 7:30 p.m. PT on ABC.