Jimmy Kimmel managed to contain himself at the 2023 Oscars. And by that, we mean he managed to reference Will Smith slapping Chris Rock only four times, which should be considered a real accomplishment. Going in, we would have predicted approximate 12 to 15 references. The first reference was in the opening monologue. “We want you to have fun, feel safe, and, most importantly, we want you to feel safe,” he teased. “So we have strict policies in place.” He then listed off the movie people who would act as security, including trained fighters Michael B. Jordan, Michelle Yeoh, Pedro Pascal, Stephen Spielberg, and Guillermo (not del Toro, though we wouldn’t mess with that bull). Then, before the Best Documentary Feature award presented by Questlove, who had to give his speech directly post-Slap last year, Kimmel called the incident a “little skirmish.”
Later, Kimmel made one of his many references to the show being long, saying, “It kinda makes you miss the slapping.” He finally closed out the night by flipping over a scoreboard, altering the “Oscars Without Incident” counter from “000” to “001.” Kind of untrue, because by our standards … that Lady Gaga performance was killer.