Actor-comedian Chris Rock was approached to host next year's Academy Awards but he reportedly declined after the infamous slapgate involving Will Smith and him at the 2022 show.
Chris Rock refuses offer from The Academy to host 2023 Oscars after infamous slapgate involving Will Smith
According to The Hollywood Reporter, during his Sunday night show at the Arizona Financial Theatre in downtown Phoenix, the comedian shared that the Academy asked him to return to host for a third time (the comedian hosted the awards show twice, in 2005 and 2016) after the infamous moment at the 2022 ceremony in which Will Smith slapped Rock onstage after Rock poked a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
During his standup routine, Rock said returning to the Oscars would have been like going back to the scene of a crime, referencing it to OJ Simpson, who was alleged to have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. He added that he was offered a Super Bowl commercial as well, but refused that too. Per the report, the comedian’s sold-out crowd was eager to hear his take on the incident, with a fan yelling out, “Talk about it!”
Chris Rock continued, referencing Smith’s performance as boxer Muhammed Ali in the 2001 drama Ali, for which Smith earned his first Oscar nomination. “He’s bigger than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.” In April, the Academy’s board of governors banned Smith from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years, a week after Smith publicly resigned from the Academy. Months after the incident, the actor apologized to Rock in a video.
Earlier this month, newly appointed Academy CEO Bill Kramer noted that they are “committed to having a host on the show this year” and “already looking at some key partners on that.” He also emphasized that the slap will not be a topic of discussion or jokes at the next ceremony. “We want to move forward and to have an Oscars that celebrates cinema. That’s our focus right now,” he said.
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