Oscars 2023: How Jimmy Kimmel addressed Will Smith’s slap

Well, Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel came out swinging when he opened the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host pulled no punches – er, slaps – when he addressed the giant elephant in the room at this year’s Oscars.

The elephant is the show-stopping moment during last year’s ceremony, when “King Richard” star Will Smith punched presenter Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, on stage during the live broadcast.

“We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” Kimmel said during his monologue. “So we have strict policies in place. If someone in this theater commits an act of violence, you will be awarded an Oscar for Best Actor and allowed to give a 19-minute speech.”

Kimmel referred to the crisis team the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences installed to handle slap-like circumstances, but immediately undercut its purpose.

“If something unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing. 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’re going to come up here and ‘blow it,’ it’s not going to be easy,” Kimmel said, referring to Smith’s 1997 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It ” and to name-check the formidable participants that a strike-seeker “must get through first.”

The defensive host pointed to audience members including Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Michelle Yeoh, Pedro Pascal’s “The Mandalorian,” Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, Steven Spielberg’s “Fableman” and the Kimmels . “right hand,” Guillermo Rodriguez.

“I know. He’s cute, but make no mistake, you’re even waving at me so much, the cute little man is going to knock Lydia Tár out of you, okay?” he added. “There will be no nonsense tonight. We don’t have time for arguments. This is a celebration of everyone here.”

The three-time Oscar host is no stranger to accidents in the air. He joined the ceremony in 2017, which culminated in the mistaken announcement of “La La Land” as the best picture winner instead of “Moonlight” due to an envelope mix-up. “I knew I wanted to screw this show up, I really did,” the host said at the time, but then returned as host the following year before the ceremony went through a three-year hosting drought.

He also made headlines at the Emmy Awards last September when he played dead for a misguided gag in the middle of Quinta Brunson’s acceptance speech. He later apologized more formally to the “Abbott Elementary” star and creator on his late-night show.

As for the fallout from the slap heard ’round the world: Smith won the lead actor Academy Award less than an hour after beating Rock. Although he was allowed to keep his Oscar and repeatedly apologized, the “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” star was subsequently banned from the Academy Awards and its related events for 10 years. (Which explains why Smith won’t attend or present the Best Actor Oscar tonight, as is tradition.)

Meanwhile, Rock initially kept pretty quiet about the incident, only briefly alluding to it in stand-up routines over the past year. But he made his most public remarks last weekend on stage at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore — Pinkett Smith’s hometown — during his Netflix comedy special, “Selective Outrage.”

Elsewhere in the monologue, Kimmel connected “Till” and “The Woman King,” Rihanna’s son, and referenced the Oscar envelope. The comedian also took aim at Nicole Kidman’s AMC Theaters commercials, diabetes drug Ozempic, Irish actors, directors Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, lack of female directors being nominated, “Babylon” reportedly losing $100 million and two actors from “Encino Man ” (Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan) are nominated for Oscars.

Times staff writer Emily St. Martin contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: