On Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) held an Oscar Nominee Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.
The president of AMPAS, Janet Yang, used the event as an opportunity to address what happened at last year’s Oscars ceremony, regarding Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage, and how the organization’s response was “inadequate”, according to Variety.
“I’m sure you all remember we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars,” Yang addressed the attendees. “What happened onstage was fully unacceptable and the response from our organization was inadequate. We learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions, and particularly in times of crisis you must act swiftly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and for our industry. You should and can expect no less from us going forward.”
Among those in attendance included Tom Cruise, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Best Actor nominees, Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser.
Last March, during the 94th Academy Awards, Chris Rock had been the one to award the Best Documentary and during his introduction, made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, regarding her alopecia, a medical condition that causes hair loss. Smith’s reaction was he approached Rock on stage and smacked him across the face. After returning to his seat, he began screaming at Chris, saying, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
The event took place on March 27, and by April 1, Smith had resigned from the Academy, writing in a statement, “I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”
He also posted to Instagram, apologizing to the Academy and to Rock, writing, “I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
It took nearly another week for the Academy to revoke Smith’s AMPAS membership and ban him from any Academy related events for the next ten years.
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” the Academy said in a statement at the time. “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.”
Smith apologized again later in the year, saying he “reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out.”
As for the luncheon, the attendees were able to mingle with each other and celebrate a year of remarkable films, which included Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, The Whale, and Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.
Tom Cruise was photographed as he made his rounds to other nominees like Austin Butler and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The 95th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theater at Ovation Hollywood.