Why Will Smith's Oscars Slap Likely Won't Come Up At Next Year's Show

Hollywood came to a collective standstill when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards. Although Rock was able to stay relatively composed immediately following the altercation, he was originally reluctant to discuss the incident. A few days later, the comedian went out on his Ego Death World Tour, where audience members eagerly awaited his reaction to being hit on live television.

"I don't have a bunch of s*** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend, and I'm still kind of processing what happened," the "Spiral" star told a crowd in late March, per IndieWire. Although Rock did hint he would eventually have material on the infamous slap. "So at some point I'll talk about that s***. And it'll be serious, and it'll be funny." Later in the year, the stand-up comic joked about the Smith incident while performing. "Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face," Rock told a crowd on July 24, per Us Weekly. "But I shook that s*** off and went to work the next day," he jokingly added.

Not long after that comedy set, Smith took to Instagram to issue a video apology on July 29 and let Rock know he wanted to move past the incident. The "King Richard" star was not only banned from the upcoming Oscars, but he is unlikely to be a topic of conversation during the broadcast.

The Academy is hoping to 'move forward'

Viewers hoping to hear commentary about the Will Smith slap at the 2023 Academy Awards will be disappointed, as the Academy does not want to draw more attention to the controversial moment that left a blemish on the ceremony. "We want to move forward and to have an Oscars that celebrates cinema. That's our focus right now, but it's really about moving forward," Academy CEO Bill Kramer told the press during a roundtable discussion on August 25 when asked if the fiasco of Smith hitting Chris Rock would be addressed, per People. The Academy did not wish to highlight the on-stage debacle. "We want to return to a show that has reverence for film in 95 years of the Oscars," Kramer added.

The Academy CEO started his position in July after taking over for Dawn Hudson and hinted at "some announcements soon" about the upcoming telecast, per People. He also mentioned that the Academy was "committed to having a host," but did not offer any clues as to who may take the job. A couple months earlier, speculation rose that Rock could be in line to host the prestigious awards show, per a Deadline interview with President of Entertainment of ABC, Craig Erwich, in May.

It may not be discussed during the 2023 Oscars, but after announcing that the "Bad Boys" star would be barred from the Oscars for a decade, the Academy said in a statement that they were remorseful for not addressing the slap on-air immediately after it occurred, per Entertainment Weekly.