The 95th Academy Awards — The Oscars — take place Sunday night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and while the awards are the focus of Hollywood's biggest night, last year's incident in which Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock looms large. It's been a significant part of the pop culture conversation for the past year and, in the run-up to this year's Oscars has been discussed even more extensively. While many of the conversations and questions about the Oscars and the slap have been serious, some have been humorous including one that has been on the minds of some since it was announced that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was announced to be hosting this year's event: will Matt Damon slap Kimmel at this year's Oscars?
If that seems like a completely out there question to ask, here's some context. Kimmel and Damon have had a long-running "feud". For roughly 20 years, Damon has been the butt of a running joke on Kimmel's late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live in which, at the end of each show, Kimmel says "Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time," making it sound like Damon was supposed to be a guest but is so low priority that he keeps getting bumped. As Damon explained in an appearance on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show, Kimmel just randomly made the joke about Damon without even knowing him, but the joke ended up leading the pair becoming good friends — and the joke has endured to this day.
Considering the "feud" between the friends and given that hosting duties for the Oscars usually comes with poking fun at celebrities, current events, and other elements of pop culture as part of the show, many have wondered if as part of the evening Damon might slap Kimmel as part of a bit in an attempt to play off their long-running joke while also bring some levity to the Smith/Rock situation that has been a pretty serious matter since it happened in 2022. However, the odds aren't exactly in favor of a friendly joke slap.
First, Damon may not even attend this year's Oscars. Kimmel recently told People that he was "thrilled" that Damon wasn't expected to be at the ceremony, though part of the reason for his comments was a joke about Damon's presence "in some way" causing the Best Picture mix-up in 2017 — Kimmel and Damon were sitting next to one another at the ceremony when the incident happened.
"I'm thrilled that he won't' show," Kimmel said. "I hope he never gets nominated again."
"I believe that his presence in some way caused the envelope mix-up," Kimmel added, jokingly.
It's also unlikely that a Damon/Kimmel slap — even as a bit — would happen simply as a matter of taste. Kimmel recently told NPR that he doesn't expect any slaps during Sunday's event and even noted that humor at the Oscars is about making fun of people but without being outright mean.
"if (anyone) does, it's going to turn into Benny Hill, because I'm just going to run around the theater and he's not going to catch me," Kimmel said of anyone trying to slap him. "But you know what I'm really going to do? I'm going to make a couple of joke about it — but it's not like we're going to recreate it… Will it make me gun shy about what I say? Not in the slightest."
The 95th Academy Awards takes place Sunday, March 12th. The ceremony begins at 8p.m. ET/5p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ABC.
Will you be tuning into this year's Oscars? Do you think there will be another slap this year? Who do you hope wins the major awards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit me on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid!2comments