The 94th Academy Awards will be remembered in pop culture as a meme-tastic event. When anyone brings up the 2022 Oscars, a very specific reference smacks our memories. We remember the slap that fed hosts of other 2022 mega-events – BAFTAs, Grammys, etc. fodder for their monologues. After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, aside from the actions that were taken officially, sides were taken by seemingly everyone else on planet earth, and tweet wars were fought.

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Rock’s humbling responses to his fans demeaning Smith or his actions were hailed with equal vigour. Most importantly, it got audiences hooked on the awards season to follow. Now the buzz is – the Academy may bring Rock back as host of the 95th edition of the event.

ABC will broadcast the 95th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 12, 2023, and Craig Erwich guarantees that the telecast will be “even better” than this year.

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Erwich, ABC’s President of Entertainment, told Deadline that despite Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock, he thought the programme had a “really successful year for the show.”

He was also receptive to having Rock host the show.

“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show. Obviously there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program,” he said. “Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way.”

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The show, presented by Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall, was up over 60% in the audience and 73% in the key demos from the hostless 2021 Oscars, grabbing 16.6 million people.

“It was the biggest bounce back of any award show this season. If you look at what they were trying to do, which is really bring entertainment back to the program, they had three amazing hosts, clips, and incredible musical performances, I thought it was a great way for the show to reclaim its place on the mantle. There’s always things to learn and we’ll endeavor to do even better next year,” he concluded.

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CODA was the big winner of the 2022 event, taking home Best Picture and being the first film distributed via a streaming service to do so. This was obviously overshadowed by Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Nominations will be unveiled on January 24, 2023, live from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood.