September 26, 2023


Arts Eternal

Will Smith at the Oscars: Seat filler’s photobomb we all missed

In the exact moment Will Smith and Jada’s lives changed forever, one daring chap delivered one of the most perfect photobombs in history.

By now, we’ve seen every possible angle there is of Will Smith’s infamous Oscars outburst, right?


One little-seen photo taken on Oscars night shows a different view of Will as presenter Chris Rock told his ill-fated joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith – and it also happens to capture one of the greatest seat filler photobombs of all time.

In photos taken before the incident, actress Aunjanue Ellis can be seen seated behind Will and to his right – there she is in the orange gown:

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But she was absent from her seat when Chris Rock took to the stage (bet she’s kicking herself about that poorly-timed bathroom break), and her seat was taken by this apparent seat filler, who struck an eye-catching pose as Will reacted to Rock’s Jada joke:

By the next commercial break – with all inside the Dolby Theatre reeling from the onstage attack that had just taken place – the mysterious red-headed seat filler was gone, and Ellis could be seen back in her seat. Here she is apparently comforting Smith, as fellow actor Denzel Washington stood between him and Chris Rock:

Ahead of this year’s Oscars, a former seat filler at the prestigious awards night told’s podcast I’ve Got News For You some secrets from the ceremony – including the stunt that got her fired.

Laura Cain was a seat filler at the Academy Awards for six years before she was let go for breaking the rules.

“You are not allowed to speak to the celebrities, make any ruckus, you’re supposed to be quiet,” she said. “You have to wear this name tag around your neck when the cameras are off and then put it behind you when the cameras are on.”

One sweet encounter with an award-winner proved to be her undoing, though.

“They sat me next to a lady who had just won the Oscar for a short documentary film,” Cain told podcast host Andrew Bucklow.

“She was holding an Oscar and she was drunk, and she said to me, ‘Hey, do you want to know what an Oscar feels like?’ So she hands it to me.”

Ms Cain took a photo with the Oscar statue and that picture, as well as her other celeb selfies, eventually got her fired.

“I posted those pictures (on social media) and the guy who was in charge of the seat filling saw that and was like, ‘you broke the rules!’” Cain said.

Let’s hope our red-headed friend doesn’t suffer the same fate for this perfect photobomb.