LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Kimmel was guaranteed to reference The Slap in his monologue — he needed a little over seven minutes (about 10 1/2 minutes into the telecast) before he made his first veiled reference to Will Smith's infamous slapping of Chris Rock last year.
“We have nominees from every corner of Dublin,” Kimmel said. “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”
Less than three minutes later, he was a little more direct: “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” Kimmel said. “So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point in this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech.”
Smith won his best actor Oscar not long after the slap.
Kimmel later made his third slap reference before the documentary feature category.
“Our next category is documentary feature, which as you may recall is where we had that little skirmish last year,” Kimmel said. “Hopefully this time it goes off without a hitch, or at least without Hitch.”
Will Smith played “Hitch” in the 2005 film where he starred opposite Eva Mendes as a matchmaker of sorts.
Because of last year's incident, Smith won't be in attendance Sunday and don't expect to see him at the Oscars anytime soon. He was banned by the film academy from attending for 10 years.
Who will present best actor?
Smith's absence leaves open the question of who will be the presenter for the best actor category.
Usually, the previous year's acting winners present the awards for best actor and best actress. But that won't be the case this time. Who'll replace Smith in presenting best actress is just one of the questions heading into the ceremony.
While Smith is banned from attending the Oscars, he is technically still eligible to be nominated for awards.
Who is banned from the Oscars?
According to Insider, six other men have previously been banned from attending the Oscars or expelled from the organization: Richard Gere, Carmine Caridi, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Adam Kimmel and Harvey Weinstein.