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BAFTAs 2023: Will Smith's Oscar slap becomes focus as host Richard E Grant makes joke

The actor hosted the awards alongside Alison Hammond

richard and will bafta© Photo: Getty Images
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
February 19, 2023
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Richard E. Grant made a reference to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards during his opening monologue for the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards on Sunday evening.

The Withnail and I actor, who hosted the awards alongside TV presenter Alison Hammond, took to the stage at London's Royal Festival Hall to welcome guests to the ceremony when he made a joke about the jaw-dropping moment which took place last March. Watch the video below to see what Richard said…

WATCH: Richard E. Grant makes joke about Will Smith's slap

Will Smith stormed the stage at last year's Oscars after comedian Chris Rock made a GI Joe joke at Will's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith's expense.

Will later apologised for the shock moment during his acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. Meanwhile, the BAFTA Film Awards have seen some huge names and titles announced as winners.

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MORE: Prince William and Princess Kate shine on the red carpet at 2023 BAFTAs - best photos

Richard E. Grant on stage hosting the BAFTAs© Photo: Getty Images

Richard E. Grant was host of the BAFTAs

The film All Quiet on the Western Front picked up awards for Adapted Screenplay, Film Not in the English Language and Cinematography, while The Banshees of Inisherin won gongs in major categories including Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, with Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon picking up the awards respectively.

The awards also saw esteemed actress Dame Helen Mirren pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen. The actress said of the late Queen Elizabeth II: "Your Majesty, you were our nation's leading star."

Will Smith accepts Best Actor award 2022© Photo: Getty Images

Will Smith picked up the award for Best Actor soon after the on-stage slap

The actress, 77, has portrayed the monarch on the silver screen and on the stage, winning an Oscar and Bafta for her depiction in 2006's biographical drama The Queen.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, who attended the awards for the first time in two years, were moved during the tribute. William was visibly emotional as Dame Helen paid tribute to his late grandmother. 

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