Is He Attending the Oscars This Year?


Is Will Smith allowed to attend the Oscars this year?

It’s hard to believe, but it was back in 2022 when Will Smith smacked Chris Rock at the Oscars. It was a shocker — and a divisive moment when it come to how people reacted on social media.

The frenzy of extremely polarized takes has had plenty of time to cool off since then.

The question is … will Will Smith attend this year’s Oscars? Did the Academy even invite him?

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars in 2022.
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Photo Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Can Will Smith attend to Oscars this year?

On April 8, 2022, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) made a determination. AMPAS banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars for ten years, and also included all other Academy events.

This means that he will not be a presenter, will not be an invited guest, and cannot be a plus one. Peculiarly, he cannot even attend these events virtually — making it feel less like an excessive safety precaution and more like a shunning.

Will Smith publicly accepted the Academy’s decision. So it’s (obviously) unlikely that he’s going to attempt to “crash” one of these events.

Will Smith receives an Academy Award at the Oscars in 2022.
Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘King Richard’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022. (Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Why did Will Smith receive a 10-year ban from the Oscars?

The short answer is that Will Smith smacked Chris Rock in the face when Rock was giving the Best Documentary Feature presentation in 2022. The full answer requires some background.

Will Smith and Chris Rock have known each other for decades. They have both known Jada Pinkett Smith, Will’s wife, for decades.

And historically, Chris Rock has seemed obsessed with Jada, making odd jabs at her. On March 27, 2022, he used the Oscars stage to crack a joke about Jada’s shaved head.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars in 2022.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022. (Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

That same night, Will Smith actually won an Oscar

Will Smith ended up taking home the Best Actor award, which happened after the infamous slap.

At the time, he apologized to the Academy and to the other nominees who were present. It was only the next day when he took to social media and apologized to Chris Rock.

Will Smith also resigned his AMPAS membership days after the incident. Amidst some intense and at time disproportional backlash, he was facing potential suspension or expulsion.

Will Smith in 2015.
Will Smith attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Concussion” during AFI FEST 2015. (Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI)

When can Will Smith attend the Oscars again?

Ultimately, the famous actor received a 10-year ban from all Academy events, including (and especially) the Oscars.

Given the wording and timing of AMPAS’ decision, he will only be able to attend such events again starting on April 8, 2032.

Unless the Academy Awards happen after that date that year, he’ll be able to attend the Oscars in 2033.

A screenshot of Jada Pinkett Smith wearing a marigold blouse on Red Table Talk.
Red Table Talk took social media by storm, becoming the epicenter of hot topics from scandals to book promotions and more. (Image Credit: Facebook)

What was Jada Pinkett Smith’s role in all of this?

Some social media malefactors hoped to “blame” Jada for the entire event. Why? Because misogyny rots your brain.

Her only role in this was being a witness, being Will Smith’s wife, and being the target of yet another unkind joke from Chris Rock.

Notably, on a 2018 Red Table Talk episode, Jada had opened up about her alopecia areata. The reason for her shaving her head was not a secret, and the joke was in decidedly poor taste.

Will Smith in March of 2022.
Will Smith attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022. (Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Ultimately, the incident was extremely polarizing because it is also more complex than either side would like to acknowledge. People suggesting that it was unremarkable were mistaken, just as the people who (tastelessly) compared the incident to domestic violence.

On the one hand, what we saw were two adult men, both world-famous millionaires, who have known each other for decades. One has made repeated digs about the other’s wife, and the other responded with a slap.

But on the other hand, the Oscars is more or less a “work event.” Not only was it a crime (yes, assault is a crime), but one can understand some reaction by AMPAS — just as management would have to respond if one office coworker smacked another at a retirement party.

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