I remember worrying that last year’s Oscars would be uneventful (because that’s how they generally went during the pandemic), and as everyone now knows, that broadcast did not fail to deliver drama. No matter how Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith’s reflections on the cause of the slap differ — he believes that Will Smith was releasing pent-up frustration over being ridiculed for Jada’s cuckolding, and she asserts that Rock is “obsessed” with her — it’s apparent that some very personal feelings spilled into the broadcast.
One year later, and Chris Rock has released a well-timed standup special, Selective Outrage, to make his feelings clear on the subject. And will the Oscars also note the (approximate) one-year mark, too?
No matter what The Academy chooses to do on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, there are bound to be detractors. Bringing up the incident could surface complaints that people are tired of hearing about The Slap, yet ignoring that figurative elephant doesn’t seem possible. Jimmy Kimmel has already joked that he’s ready to throw down if someone pulls a repeat. And it seems that the Oscars plan to keep that same vibe going. The broadcast’s executive producer, Molly McNearny (also wife to Kimmel), revealed that the subject will be handled briefly and with humor. Via Variety:
“We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on.” She added, “We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.””
One thing that we definitely won’t see during the broadcast will be a live reaction shot of Will Smith following whatever this mention turns out to be. The Emancipation star (who also won last year for King Richard) was banned from the event for a decade. As well, Smith has reportedly declared that he would really like for Chris Rock to move on, so it’s safe to say that he probably won’t be a fan of the subject surfacing again from The Academy.
We’ll find out how this comedic reference will go down when the Oscars arrive on March 12, 8:00pm EST on ABC.