There were quite a few Will Smith jokes made at the 95th Academy Awards, but there were certainly more. An executive producer of the event has explained why there weren’t more. Jimmy Kimmel, 55, hosted the ceremony, one year after Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage when Rock, 58, made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, reports ‘People’ magazine.
Though jokes about the moment were very present, Molly McNearney, an executive producer of this year’s show and Kimmel’s wife, explained why her husband did not go “harder.”
“We didn’t want to make this year all about last year,” McNearney, 45, told ‘Variety’. “I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it. There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that. That should be Chris Rock, not us.”
Still, they didn’t want to ignore the incident altogether. “We really liked the idea of making fun of the reaction to it last year,” said McNearney. “I think we’re all still in a bit of shock of how that went down and how after watching that violence everyone had to then sit through an acceptance speech.”
As per ‘People’, last year, the moment was followed by Smith, 54, winning Best Actor for his role in King Richard; he took the stage but decided not to apologise specifically to Rock during his emotional acceptance speech.
Kimmel joked during his opening monologue, “We know this is a special night for you. We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theatre commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech”.