Will Smith's Chris Rock slap triggers 'crisis team' planning for next Oscars

280322 Will Smith slaps Chris Rock, AP
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock after the comedian made comments about his wife at the 2022 Oscars ceremony. Credit: AP

This year's Oscars will be closely watched by a 'crisis' team in the wake of Will Smith's infamous Chris Rock slap incident.

The star stunned audiences when he got onto the stage and slapped the host in fury over a joke Rock had told about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Smith had taken issue with the comedian ribbing his wife over her buzzcut. She had previously publicly discussed living with alopecia, which causes hair loss.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor and musician offered an apology to Rock in the months following the saga, which had threatened to overshadow the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

A 'crisis' communications team will now be put in place for the 2023 Oscars to help producers handle any unscripted moments during the live show, Academy of Science and Motion Pictures CEO Bill Kramer told Time.

"We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place," Mr Kramer told the magazine.

"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."

He went on to explain: "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."Mr Kramer went on to praise this year's host, Jimmy Kimmel, describing the comedian and talk show star as a veteran of live television whom he was "thrilled" to have back in the spotlight.

This year's event, the 95th Annual Academy Awards, will be the third time Kimmel has hosted the ceremony following previous presenting honours in 2017 and 2018.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018. Credit: AP

Mr Kramer went on: "It’s so important to have a host who knows how to handle live television and a live audience. That’s a very specific skill, and there aren’t a lot of people who can do that well. Jimmy is a dream to work with.

"He’s funny; he’s respectful; his edges aren’t too sharp. I think people in the audience feel very safe and engaged with his energy."

The star-studded Oscars ceremony, hosted by Kimmel, will take place on March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Sci-fi indie hit Everything Everywhere All at Once leads the nominations, closely followed by Irish tragicomedy, The Banshees of Inisherin.

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