Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Is Will Smith going to be at the 2023 Oscars?

It’s been a year, and people are still talking about the 2022 Oscars. While not a lot of people watched last’s year’s ceremony, everyone knows what happened: Ariana DeBose “did the thing” and won Best Supporting Actress for playing Anita in Steven Spielberg’s exhilarating remake of West Side Story. Okay, while that did happen, the far more noteworthy event that occurred was Will Smith, everyone’s favorite Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage in front of millions of people.

Now commonly referred to as “The Slap,” the incident had immediate repercussions. Smith was banned from the Academy for 10 years and had some of his film projects either delayed or outright canceled. Rock laid low for a while and only in March commented directly about the incident in a popular Netflix comedy special, Selective Outrage. With the 2023 Oscars set to occur shortly, a lot of people are asking if the Suicide Squad actor is going to attend this year’s ceremony. After all, it’s a tradition for the Best Actor winner to return the following year to present the Best Actress award. So is Will Smith going to be at tonight’s 95th annual Academy Awards? And if he is, can you live stream the 2023 Oscars?

The answer is simple … and complicated

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Robyn Beck/Getty

The short answer is no. The Academy has no plans to break its ban and let Smith return to attend the ceremony. That doesn’t mean that the 2023 Oscars won’t address what happened last year. In a press conference earlier this week, executive producer Molly McNearney announced, “We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on.” She added, “We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.”

At the very least, expect a few jokes here and there as comedians probably can’t resist poking fun at the incident. Who knows, maybe Chris Rock will make a surprise appearance and make some joke about it as a way for everyone to “move on.”

A distant but still possible scenario is Smith himself returning. After all, before “The Slap,” the Academy’s most embarrassing moment ever was when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong Best Picture winner in 2017. That incident, known now as “Envelopegate,” involved Dunaway mistakenly reading Emma Stone’s Best Actress envelope for La La Land instead of the Best Picture envelope, which revealed the winner to be Moonlight. Yet only a year later, the Academy brought Dunaway and Beatty back to present the Best Picture Oscar to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

If the Academy was willing to bring the perpetrators of one of its biggest public embarrassments back so soon, it’s not out of the realm of improbability that they could be planning to secretly bring Smith back to make amends. It could be the best way for everyone involved to forge ahead.

Topics
Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
The worst Oscar winners from each decade, ranked
Dustin Hoffman looking at Anne Bancroft as they lay in bed in The Graduate (1967).

It's time to celebrate the best that movies have to offer. That's right, the 2024 Oscars ceremony is almost here. And 2023's best movies, including Oppenheimer, Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Barbie, are among this year's impressive crop of nominees.

While it's fun to celebrate the best in films, it's also enjoyable to look back and ask, "Did they really give an Oscar to that?" The following list spotlights some of the Oscars' worst and most head-scratching winners from each decade that the awards show has existed, from one of the all-time worst Best Picture winners in the 1920s to a still-shocking win from a one-time Scream Queen in 2023.

Read more
9 strange facts about the Oscars you didn’t know
A man looks away in Oppenheimer.

The Academy Awards ceremony has been held since 1929, with the ceremony broadcast via radio for the first time in 1930. In 1953, the event was first televised and has been ever since. As the oldest of the major annual entertainment awards in America, the Academy Awards are a huge production. It's not just about the honor of being nominated -- earning an Academy Award can be career-changing.

You might think you know everything there is to know about the Oscars, but as you gear up for the 2024 Academy Awards, here are lesser-known interesting facts about its origins, past, and how things run behind the scenes that you'll find fascinating.

Read more
10 best Oscar-winning movies ever, ranked (and where to watch them)
Clint Eastwood as William Munny aiming his rifle at someone off-camera in Unforgiven.

This weekend, the 96th Academy Awards will name a new winner for Best Picture. And while we suspect that Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer will walk away with the top prize, there's always room for an upset. The truth is that there are plenty of great movies that didn't win Best Picture, including Citizen Kane, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

We've recently shared our list of the worst movies to win Best Picture, so now it's time to reveal our picks for the 10 best Oscar-winning movies of all time. There may be some disagreement with the order in which we placed these films, but few could convincingly argue that they aren't among the greatest movies ever made.
10. On the Waterfront (1954)

Read more