Amy Schumer clarifies Kirsten Dunst seat-filler joke after apparent controversy

Not to be outdone by the controversy created when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Academy Awards live broadcast, it appears some of the 15 million viewers who tuned in for the 2022 Oscars took issue with a late-stage joke co-host Amy Schumer made about Oscar nominee Kirsten Dunst.

Toward the end of Sunday night’s ceremony, Schumer began to explain what a seat-filler does to the audience, before walking over to Dunst’s table and grabbing the actress’s hand to pull her out of the seat (thus implying that Dunst was a seat-filler).

“OK, here’s a seat filler. Honey, do you want to go to the bathroom?” she asked Dunst before removing the actress from her spot. Schumer then proceeded to flirt with Dunst’s partner, fellow nominee Jesse Plemons. “Jesse, I loved you in ‘Power of the Dog.’”

Plemons’s response? “That was my wife, Amy.” That then set up Schumer’s punchline, which she delivered with perfect comic timing: “You’re married to that seat filler?”

As soon as this bit happened on live television, many viewers were apparently unable to tell if the moment was scripted or not, causing an apparent backlash that Schumer addressed late Monday on her Instagram account.

“Hey I appreciate the love for Kirsten Dunst,” she wrote. “I love her too! That was a choreographed bit she was in on.”

Dunst and Plemons were both nominated in the supporting categories for their performances in “The Power of the Dog,” although they both lost to, respectively, Ariana DeBose for “West Side Story” and Troy Kotsur for “CODA.”

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