Oscars forced to break long-standing tradition following Will Smith ban
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Tonight's (March 12) Oscars will look a little different compared to previous ceremonies following last year's infamous incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
The 94th Oscars were rocked by Smith storming on stage during Rock's presentation of the Best Documentary Feature.
Shortly after the latter made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith, seemingly hinting at her alopecia, the actor took to the stage to assault the comedian.
A shocked Rock commented "Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me!" as the I Am Legend star went back to his seat and yelled at him to "keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth."
Not long after the dramatic moment last year, Smith went on to win the Best Actor award for his performance in biopic King Richard. This marked the actor's first-ever Oscar win, with him tearing up in his acceptance speech.
Despite his win, Smith's actions were taken seriously by the Academy. The slap resulted in Smith being banned from attending the Oscars for ten years, which is why the 95th Academy Awards will get rid of a long-standing tradition.
Normally, the Academy would invite the Best Actor winner back to present the new nominees for Best Actress, but Smith's ban means tonight's show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, must go on without him.
At the time, Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson confirmed the Academy's decision not to welcome back Smith for at least a decade in a statement.
"The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards," the statement reads.
It isn't clear who is going to present the awards to this year's Best Actress, which saw Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchett, Andrea Riseborough and Ana de Armas in the run to grab the coveted award.
Riseborough's nomination for her turn as an alcoholic single mother in indie drama To Leslie was also at the centre of controversy when she was announced as a nominee back in January.
The pick shocked pundits and prompted an investigation into campaigning techniques by the Academy, which ultimately allowed the English actress to keep her nod. Meanwhile, some critics also pointed out that other performances, particularly from Black actresses such as Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler, would have benefited from the same grassroots campaign which helped direct the spotlight on Riseborough.
Featured Image Credit: MediaPunch Inc /Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo
Topics: Oscars, Academy Awards, Will Smith, Chris Rock