Benedict Cumberbatch joked about being “beat by Will Smith” at the Oscars while hosting this weekend’s Saturday Night Live (7 May).
The actor, who is currently appearing in the title role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, opened his monologue by pointing out that the majority of the sketches he was pitched for the show revolved around the character. “Most were about Doctor Strange,” he said. “I love the guy, I love playing the character, the film’s doing really well, but I have been in other films!”
Cumberbatch then joked that Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels had asked him: “Like what?” Cumberbatch said he replied: “‘Well, The Power of the Dog for a start.’ He said: ‘Nobody saw it.’ I said: ‘Come on man, I was nominated for an Oscar for that!’ I didn’t win. I was beat by Will Smith.”
After the audience laughed, Cumberbatch clarified: “Not physically! Not physically!”
Cumberbatch had been nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the award which was ultimately won by Smith for his performance in King Richard.
Smith’s win was shrouded in controversy after the actor struck and swore at comedian Chris Rock after he’d made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, live on stage at the Oscars awards ceremony. The slap made headlines around the world and Smith has since been banned from the Oscars and the Academy Awards for ten years.