There will be a change to this year’s Academy Awards presentation because of the incident last year involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. There will be a “crisis team” available to avoid any chances of a repeat of Smith’s face slap, which earned the Oscar-winner a ban from the awards show.
The new CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Bill Kramer, revealed the latest change in an interview with Time magazine.
Kramer explained that there can always be an unexpected situation at the live, nationally-televised event. Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting this year, and with his previous experience, the Academy feels he can handle a potential disruption.
“And that’s why you want someone like Jimmy on stage who is used to dealing with live TV: things don’t always go as planned. So you have a host in place who can really pivot and manage those moments.”
“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place. We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”
Kramer also expressed that due to the unfortunate incident last year, they have prepared themselves for other possible show-stopping scenarios. The crisis team will be able to handle it better than the Academy did last March.
“Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars. But these crisis plans — the crisis communication teams and structures we have in place — allow us to say this is the group that we have to gather very quickly. This is how we all come together. This is the spokesperson. This will be the statement. And obviously depending on the specifics of the crisis, and let’s hope something doesn’t happen and we never have to use these, but we already have frameworks in place that we can modify.”
Earlier this week, Smith made light of the infamous face slap when he posted a video clip to his TikTok account.
At last year’s Academy Awards presentation, comedian Chris Rock, while on stage, jokingly referred to Jada Pinkett-Smith, who was sporting a bald head, as “G.I. Jane.” (Demi Moore starred in the movie and shaved her head for the role.)
Initially, it looked as if Smith was ok with the joke, but, it affected him so much that he got up from his seat and approached Rock on stage. As Smith got closer, he smacked Rock in the face, stunning the comedian.
For that action, Smith earned himself a 10-year ban from the Academy Awards.