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.

Editors' Recommendations

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…
Everything coming to Netflix in September 2023
Three male students sit together in Sex Education season 4.

While there's a multitude of streamers to choose from, Netflix continues to be the primary destination for streaming movies and TV shows. With recent hit shows like The Lincoln Lawyer, Suits, and The Witcher season 3, plus blockbuster movies like Heart of Stone and the Jason Statham action movie Safe, Netflix still rules the streaming landscape like no other.

Netflix's dominance will continue in September 2023 with the premiere of new seasons of hits shows like Sex Education, Virgin River, Love is Blind, and Top Boy. In addition, the new series Castlevania: Nocturne will debut, as will the charming rom-com Love at First Sight. Check the list below for everything that is coming to Netflix in September 2023.
September 1
A Day and a Half

Read more
3 best rom-coms of 2023 so far
Two men are covered in cake in Red, White & Royal Blue.

The romantic comedy is not what it used to be. The genre used to be a regular feature at the box office, and we could almost always count on getting at least one good one a year.

While that may no longer be the case, that doesn’t mean that the genre is totally dead, as 2023 has produced a couple of well-above-average rom-coms. We highlight the three best from the year so far below: 
Rye Lane (2023)
Rye Lane | Official Trailer | Hulu

Read more
5 movies leaving Max in August you need to watch now

Because of its impressive, deep catalog, there’s always something great to check out on Max if you’re a film buff. Sometimes, though, Max has so many great options that picking any one movie can feel overwhelming, and one way to determine what movie you’re going to watch next is to see what’s leaving the service soon.

Thankfully, we’ve narrowed it down to five titles that you should definitely check out before they leave Max at the end of August.
The Card Counter (2021)

Read more