This week, the nominees for the Academy Award for the year were announced, which means that we have become much closer to the ceremony itself. We can be sure there will be some memorable moments in this year’s show (there are always a few), but another thing we’re pretty sure about is a lot of jokes about the most memorable moment of last year: when Will Smith slapped Chris. Rock live on stage.
Will Smith will not be on the show this year, he is banned from attending the ceremony for the next decade, so he will not be one of those who will talk about last year’s events, but how exactly did it come to this?
At the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, Chris Rock was commissioned to present the award for Best Documentary. Like most presenters, Rock, who has hosted the show in the past, made a few lighthearted comments before getting down to business. He aimed one of his jokes at Jada Pinkett-Smith, saying that he was looking forward to her in the movie “J.I. Jane 2. It was a reference to Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head due to the fact that the actress suffered from baldness.
At first, some people laughed, and even Will Smith seemed to crack a joke. But while Rock was moving on, ABC cameras captured the comedian’s confused face when Smith quietly walked on stage and punched him in the face. Then Smith returned to his seat. Even without a microphone, he could be heard telling Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Chris Rock, clearly a little shocked, mentioned what had just happened, but did his best to continue the evening. The rest of the show was uneventful. The hosts of the Oscar night indirectly mentioned what happened, but never discussed it directly, even when Smith later won the Oscar for Best Actor.
From the moment the slap occurred, it became a topic that people were talking about. Instagram Will Smith posted a statement apologizing for what happened, after which the actor, who has always been quite active on Instagram, remained silent on social networks.
The police questioned Chris Rock and he was given the opportunity to press charges, but he refused to do so. From there, it largely fell to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was felt that they should take some steps to punish Smith for his misconduct. Many people have been very publicly critical of Smith’s actions, believing that despite any problems with Rock’s joke, resorting to violence was not the answer. There have been some conflicting reports as to whether Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after the slap or not.
Many paths were opened before the Academy. As a member of the Academy, Smith could be suspended from his roles. He could be banned from attending the ceremony, he could even have his newly received Oscar taken away from him. The actor himself rejected one of these possibilities a few days after the event, when Smith himself refused membership in the Academy.
Since this option is no longer available, the Academy has ruled that Smith will be banned from attending the ceremony for 10 years. The 2023 ceremony will be the first to be banned. He was allowed to keep the Oscar for Best Actor.
Chris Rock, apparently, was offered to host this year’s Oscar ceremony, but he declined. Whether he will appear at all, perhaps as a presenter again, remains to be seen. Even if Rock and Smith are absent from the show, it is unlikely that the ceremony will take place without at least a few mentions of last year’s events. And if Will Smith returns to the Oscars in 10 years, we will most likely hear it all again.