Oscars bosses cut 'harder' jokes about Will Smith slap
The Oscars cut "harder" jokes about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last year's ceremony.
Jimmy Kimmel returned as host for the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday (12.03.23) and while there was plenty of digs at the incident in 2022 - which saw the 'King Richard' actor strike the comedian over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith - an executive producer has revealed there could have been more.
Molly McNearney, who is married to Kimmel, told Variety: "We didn't want to make this year all about last year.
"I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it.
"There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn't think that was our place to do that. That should be Chris Rock, not us."
She noted that it was important not to ignore the incident, and they decided on "making fun" of the fact that Smith went on to win best actor shortly after slapping Rock.
She added: "We really liked the idea of making fun of the reaction to it last year.
"I think we're all still in a bit of shock of how that went down and how after watching that violence everyone had to then sit through an acceptance speech."
During his opening monologue, Kimmel joked about the Academy's "strict policies in place".
He said: "We know this is a special night for you. We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe.
"And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place.
"If anyone in this theater 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."
The late night talk show host - who joked he had the likes of 'The Mandalorian' star Pedro Pascal and 'Creed' actor Michael B. Jordan for backup - also teased the idea of a "crisis team" based on the response last year.
He quipped: "Seriously, The Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony.
"Just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug."