Chris Rock Actually Returning To Host The Oscars After Will Smith Slap?

Could Chris Rock actually have returned to host this year's Academy Awards? It looks like the offer was there.

By Doug Norrie | Published

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Last year’s Academy Awards will (likely) go down as the most infamous installment yet with a moment that could come to define the show for years to come. That’s because it had the most high-profile incident that’s ever happened during the live airing. When Will Smith took the stage and slapped Chris Rock over a joke the latter had made at the expense of Jada Pinkett-Smith, it sent shockwaves through the room and also through the industry. And while Will Smith won’t be showing up at future awards shows anytime soon, it appears the Academy did extend a hand to Chris Rock over the next show. In fact, according to Rock, they offered to have him host it. 

According to The Guardian and Consequence Film, Chris Rock let it out that the Academy had offered to make him the host of the next iteration of the awards show following the incident between him and Will Smith earlier this year. Rock turned down the offer though. He had previously hosted the Oscars in 2005 and 2016. It doesn’t appear he has any desire to walk back up on that same stage for the entirety of the broadcast in order to entertain the crowd. It will be interesting to see if he decides to return at all in any form or fashion. 

This announcement by Chris Rock was made during a recent standup performance of his in Arizona. It was part of his set and he apparently talked some about the Will Smith slap. Rock made light of the circumstances, mentioning that that slap did hurt and that Smith is much bigger than him. Rock reminded the crowd that Will Smith had played a boxer (Muhammed Ali) and even quipped that Nevada wouldn’t sanction a fight between the two of them because of the physical differences. The Academy didn’t comment on what Rock said during this performance.

All of this stems, of course, from what happened on March 27th of this year during the Academy Awards. Chris Rock was on stage presenting the award for Best Documentary when he made a joke at the expense of Jade Pinkett-Smith, Will Smith’s wife. The joke referred to her hairstyle and Will Smith took offense. The latter walked on stage and delivered a slap to Chris Rock’s face before returning to his seat. It was a jaw-dropping moment though Rock, for his part, was able to continue on with the presentation after a moment or two. 

Will Smith went on to win the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard but the fallout on his career was swift. He was banned from the Academy for the next ten years and had a number of different productions either canceled or put on hold for the time being. There were studios who wanted to dust to settle some before moving on and doing more business with Smith. No matter who hosts this year’s Oscars, it will be interesting to see how they handle bringing up this incident which clearly will be on everyone’s minds.