Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel started the 2023 Academy Awards on a nostalgic yet roasting note. The 95th Academy Awards ceremony kickstarted at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday and Kimmel started by joking about last year's Will Smith's infamous slap, but he kept his slap jokes relatively light.
"Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the chances of a fight just went way up," Kimmel joked. "We want you to have fun, feel safe and, most importantly, we want me feel safe," Kimmel told the audience. Adding, "So, we have strict policies in pace. 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. But seriously, the academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the show, 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 want to get jiggy with it -- it's not going to be easy," Kimmel concluded, then shouting out fighters in the audience like Michael B. Jordan's Creed and Michelle Yeoh.
Will Smith-Chris Rock slap incident
In 2022, Will Smith shocked everyone by slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage. He slapped Rock while the latter was presenting the best documentary feature category. Rock made a controversial joke about Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's bald head, which she shaved following an alopecia diagnosis. After the slap, Smith returned to his seat and repeatedly screamed at Rock, "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!"
After backlash over his behaviour, Smith resigned from the Academy on April 1, writing in a statement, "I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken." The Academy has banned Smith for 10 years.
(Inputs from agency)