Oscars 2023: Jimmy Kimmel roasts Will Smith slap

Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards | AFP

Los Angeles: Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel started the 2023 Academy Awards with a joke about last year'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...

"So, we have strict policies in place. 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.

Kimmel is no stranger to Oscars controversy, having hosted the 2017 Oscars where 'La La Land' was incorrectly announced as the winner for best picture.

Kimmel was forced to navigate a tricky situation after the 'La La Land' producers and cast took the stage to accept the Oscar, only for 'Moonlight' to be then announced as the correct winner.

Smith slapped Rock at the 2022 Oscars while the latter was presenting the best documentary feature category. Rock made a controversial joke about 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!"

The ceremony continued with Smith remaining in attendance as he won the best actor Oscar for his performance in "King Richard".

Smith resigned from the Academy a few days after the Oscars ceremony, 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."

It took several more days for the Academy to announce it was revoking Smith's AMPAS membership and banning him from attending the Oscars ceremonies for 10 years.

Elsewhere in his monologue, Kimmel brought up the absences of Tom Cruise and James Cameron at the 2023 ceremony, joking, "You know, Tom and James Cameron didn't show up tonight. The two guys who insisted we go to the theatre didn't come the theatre."

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