Will Smith’s Absence Changed a Major Oscars Tradition

In light of the bleak turn of events during last year’s Oscars broadcast — yes, The Slap — you may have noticed quite a few changes to Hollywood’s night of nights in 2023. Not only was a crisis committee instated to help swiftly navigate any other, erm, ‘mishaps’ that may arise, but the absence of Will Smith resulted in quite a major shake-up in Oscar’s tradition.

ICYMI the Academy handed Will Smith a 10-year ban from attending the Oscars which meant he was noticeably absent when it came time to award the golden statue for Best Actress. Longstanding Oscars tradition dictates that the winner of the Best Actor award from the previous year presents the Best Actress with their award. With Smith having taken the prize for his role in King Richard last year, the organisers found themselves in quite the conundrum. 

Image: Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022 / Getty Images

But despite the reminder of last year’s slapping snafu, the academy’s solution honestly turned out to be a welcome change in Hollywood folklore. They invited 2022 Best Actress winner, Jessica Chastain, along with 2002 Best Actress winner, Halle Berry, to give out both the Best Actor and Best Actress awards for 2023.

In fact, the new-look presenter lineup resulted in one of the most moving moments of the evening which saw Berry embrace this year’s Best Actress winner, Michelle Yeoh. The pair made history together as the only two people of colour to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Moving forward, perhaps we should just get all of these iconic women to hand out all of the awards. All those in favour, say “I”!

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