Oscars host 2023: who is hosting the Academy Awards - is Chris Rock returning after Will Smith slap?

The Academy has chosen a host for this year’s Oscars ceremony as Chris Rock refuses to return after being slapped on stage by Will Smith last year

The 94th Academy Awards held in March last year were co-hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes, but the ceremony was somewhat overshadowed by an altercation between one of the award presenters and a nominee.

In case you’ve forgotten, which I’ll grant is unlikely, Chris Rock took to the stage on that fateful night to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, suggesting she could star in G.I. Jane 2.

Jada’s husband, Will Smith, who first laughed along at the joke before turning to his wife and seeing that she was not impressed, took to the stage and slapped Rock across the face.

Smith then returned to his seat and twice shouted at Rock ‘keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth’. A shaken Chris Rock then said ‘Will Smith just slapped the sh*t out of me’.

Smith, who less than an hour after the slap won the Best Actor Oscar, has been banned from all Academy events for 10 years, meaning that the next Oscars ceremony he will be able to attend will most likely be the 105th Academy Awards held in 2033. And in case you’re wondering, Summer of Soul won the Best Documentary Oscar.

The slap heard around the world - Will Smith hit Chris Rock at Oscars 2022
The slap heard around the world - Will Smith hit Chris Rock at Oscars 2022
The slap heard around the world - Will Smith hit Chris Rock at Oscars 2022

Is Chris Rock hosting the Oscars 2023?

Chris Rock, who hosted the Oscars in 2006, 2016, and - very memorably - was part of a series of guest hosts last year, said that he had declined to return as host for the 95th awards ceremony.

At a standup show in Arizona in August last year, around five months after The Slap, Rock said that he had been asked to return as the sole host for the awards show in 2023, according to the Arizona Republic.

In his latest Netflix special, Selective Outrage, released a week before this year’s Oscars, Rock joked about Smith. He said “I watch Emancipation (Smith’s latest film where he plays a runaway slave) just to see him get whooped”.

He also spoke about Jada’s relationship with another man during a time of separation from Smith - Rock said: “She hurt him way more than he hurt me. Everybody in the world called him a b*tch. And who’s he hit? Me!”

Rock said that coming back to host the ceremony would be like returning to the scene of a crime. Academy CEO Bill Kramer confirmed that they are keen to have a host this year - he added that last year’s slap would not be a topic for discussion at this year’s awards.

Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars 2023
Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars 2023
Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars 2023

Who is hosting the Oscars 2023?

American talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the 95th Academy Awards - this will be Kimmel’s third time fronting the ceremony. He previously hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018.

Like Rock, Kimmel has form for being present during Oscars night scandals - at the 2017 awards there was chaos on stage when the award for Best Picture was mistakenly given to La La Land, before the error was noticed mid-acceptance speech.

Hopefully, Kimmel won’t have to contend with any major mishaps at this year’s ceremony. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter what he would do if he were the victim of an Oscars night slap, he joked: “Well, I size them up, and if I’m bigger than they are, I beat the sh*t out of them on television. And if it’s The Rock, I run.”