It’s been a year, but the power of “The Slap” lives on, returning to dominate the one-liners on Sunday at 2023’s Academy Awards.
In this file photo taken on 27 March 2022 US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. Picture: Robyn Beck/AFP
HOLLYWOOD, United States – It’s been a year, but the power of “The Slap” lives on.
At the 2022’s Oscars, Will Smith suddenly stormed the stage and smacked comedian Chris Rock, who had made an off-colour joke about Smith’s wife, the actor Jada Pinkett Smith.
It was, of course, the talk of the town (and the world) in the days following that ceremony, and it returned to dominate the one-liners on Sunday at 2023’s Academy Awards.
READ: ‘I just lost it’: Will Smith opens up to Trevor Noah about that Oscars slap
“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,” vowed host Jimmy Kimmel, referring to a classic line from one of Smith’s hit songs.
The hypothetical perpetrator would have to get past a bevy of superheroes, Kimmel joked, including the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield), and “the Fabel…man” (Steven Spielberg).
“There will be no nonsense tonight. We have no time for shenanigans.”
Smith still took home the award for best actor that night, for his starring role in King Richard, but has been banned from attending the Oscars for a decade as a result of his actions.
“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,” Kimmel quipped.
“Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up,” the late-night funny-man said.
But a few minutes later, he got serious: “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe.”
Later on, he unleashed another zinger.
“The next movie is a documentary feature, which is where we had that little skirmish last year,” Kimmel said.
“Hopefully this time, it goes off without a hitch. Or at least without Hitch,” he said, referring to a Smith film.
And then midway through the event, he launched: “This point in the show kind of makes you miss the slapping a little, right?”