There were enough references to Will Smith's (54) hit against Chris Rock (58) last year at the Oscars on Sunday. But some harsher gags about the scandal have been scrapped. Molly McNearney (45), Oscar producer and wife of Jimmy Kimmel (55), the host of the gala, has now revealed this.
"We didn't want this year to be about last year," McNearney told Variety. The authors would have rejected numerous jokes. "There were certainly some that were tougher, but we didn't think it was our job to do that," says the producer. "That should be done by Chris Rock, not us".
Nevertheless, it was important for those responsible to mention the incident from last year. "I think we're all still a little bit shocked how that happened and that we had to listen to an acceptance speech after this violence," McNearney said.
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith (51). No viewer reacted, and the moderators also remained silent. A short time later, Will Smith accepted the Oscar for best actor.
However, some gags about the Smith scandal made it into the gala. "If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the performance, you will be awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor and you will have a 19-minute speech," Jimmy Kimmel said in his opening monologue.
He later addressed directly the stars in the audience who had remained idle for the past year and later gave Smith a standing ovation. "Just do what you did last year: nothing," Kimmel said, in case of a scandal. "Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even hug the attacker."
At the end, the moderator ironically thanked the installed crisis team for intervening in an incident.