Upon Further Review, The Academy Admits It Didn’t Handle The Will Smith Oscars Slap Very Well

It’s almost hard to believe it, but we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the 2022 Academy Awards. Aside from the awards of the night, this event is perhaps best known for Will Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock on national television, shortly before being awarded Best Actor. There’s been a ton of discourse around how the Academy reacted to this viral event, specifically how Smith was permitted to stay for the rest of the event and even accept an award after the altercation with Rock. And upon further review, the Academy admitted it didn’t handle the Oscars slap very well. Let’s break it all down.

Will Smith basically broke the internet when he slapped Chris Rock, with discourse surrounding last year’s Oscars still happening today. In the days following, Smith dropped out of the Academy, and was banned from attending the ceremony. But during the recent Oscars Nominees Luncheon (via Variety), AMPAS president Janet Yang admitted to some guilt about the handling of the Slap last year. As she put it,

I’m sure you all remember we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars. What happened onstage was fully unacceptable and the response from our organization was inadequate. We learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions, and particularly in times of crisis you must act swiftly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and for our industry. You should and can expect no less from us going forward.

There you have it. While Will Smith issued a number of apologies over his behavior at the 2022 Oscars, it sounds like he’s not the only one who is taking responsibility for what went down during the star-studded event last year. The Academy claims that it’s making positive changes, but hopefully no more violent incidents in the near future. Although that would seemingly be the time to show the work that’s been done regarding safety and discipline.

This statement from Film Academy president Janet Yang may help to finally put an end to the ongoing discourse surrounding Will Smith and The Slap. A full year after that viral moment, it should be interesting to see if the 2023 Oscars are able to truly step out of the shadow of the Smith of it all. But smart money says there’s going to be at least one joke about The Slap throughout the course of the upcoming telecast. 

As for Will Smith, he’s been in the midst of a long and gradual Hollywood comeback. Following a few months of isolation, he finally began stepping out in public again and using social media. And after issuing a number of apologies over his actions, the recent Oscar winner hit the road to promote the release of Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation. We just shouldn’t expect to see him return to the Academy Awards, possibly for the next 10 years.

The 2023 Academy Awards will air on March 12th. Will Smith has a number of projects coming down the line, and there are even rumors about his role in Aladdin 2. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.