LOS ANGELES — A year ago at the Oscars, Denzel Washington was seated near the stage and even offered counsel to Will Smith after The Slap. This year, he was seated near the court and watching The Lakers.
Oscar Night in Los Angeles was simultaneous with the Knicks-Lakers game, with New York in town for its annual visit to the Lakers’ home floor.
Washington skipped the Oscars and took in the game sitting next to Spike Lee, a longtime Knicks fan.
Last year, Washington was nominated in the best actor category and ultimately lost to Will Smith.
Neither Washington or Lee were nominated for any awards this year. But there were a couple of Oscar no-shows for others with films nominated.
“Top Gun” star Tom Cruise and “Avatar: The Way of Water” director James Cameron were not in attendance Sunday evening.
“The two guys who insisted we go to the theater, did not show up at the theater,” host Jimmy Kimmel quipped during the monologue.
Cruise's absence was reportedly due to him filming overseas for "Mission: Impossible -- Dead Reckoning Part II" in the United Kingdom.
Producer Jon Landau told Variety that Cameron couldn't attend Sunday's ceremony due to "personal reasons," although the "Titanic" director did attend a dinner with the other Oscar nominees Saturday night.
As for those who did attend the show, host Jimmy Kimmel needed a little over seven minutes (about 10 1/2 minutes into the telecast) before he made his first veiled reference to Smith's infamous slapping of Chris Rock last year.
“We have nominees from every corner of Dublin,” Kimmel said. “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”