The late night talk show host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! took to the stage to host the Academy Awards this year, and his wry sense of humor came with him. Last year’s Oscars most talked-about moment was certainly actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock, who was presenting an award that night. The slap was over a joke that Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her buzzed hair cut. At the time, Rock did not know about Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia diagnosis. Alopecia causes hair loss, and is why Pinkett Smith chose to shave her head.
As of this year, Smith has been banned from the Oscars for ten years over the incident. In his opening monologue and throughout the night, Kimmel couldn’t help but bring up the infamous moment. In his opening monologue, he mentioned what was on many viewers’ minds–the fact that Smith is still banned from the Academy while other alleged abusers are still granted access. Notably, actor and producer Brad Pitt (who produced Best Picture nominee Women Talking) is currently still involved in a legal battle with his ex-wife Angelina Jolie, who alleges that he abused her and one of their children. Kimmel’s snippet of dark humor was met with laughter from his audience.
"If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point in the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech." jokes host Jimmy Kimmel at the #Oscars. https://t.co/ndiKiHeOT5 pic.twitter.com/qofvMJ8ZD9
— Variety (@Variety) March 13, 2023
Also in the monologue, Kimmel poked fun at Nicole Kidman’s infamous “heartbreak feels good in a place like this” AMC advertisement. He closed out the joke with a compliment.
Jimmy Kimmel gave Nicole Kidman a shoutout for iconic AMC movie ads during his opening monologue at the 95th #Oscars pic.twitter.com/5IsTO50od6
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 13, 2023
Throughout the show, clips of the Best Picture nominated films were shown. After a clip from The Banshees of Inisherin, which starred Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, Kimmel emerged on stage with the miniature donkey, Jenny, from the film. Jenny is a real life emotional support animal, and ironically served the same purpose in her role in Banshees. In a nod to the rural Ireland set plot of the film, Kimmel looked to Colin Farrell in the audience and told him to text him if the three of them were headed to the pub after the show.
Jenny, who played the donkey in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” graced the Oscars stage wearing a bedazzled emotional support animal vest.
As Jimmy Kimmel pointed out her co-stars seated in the audience, Colin Farrell blew her a kiss. https://t.co/tqsfjkB2dJ pic.twitter.com/YRtn6vz748
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 13, 2023
Briefly after a commercial break, Kimmel walked into the star-studded audience and asked Oscars guests, presenters, and nominees alike humorous questions that he joked were submitted by fans. 25 year-old Nobel laureate, women’s rights and education activist, and executive producer of Stranger at the Gate Malala Yousafazi was present at this year’s ceremony. As one of the most impressive young women in the world, Kimmel asked her to clarify a pop culture moment that the internet can’t seem to forget–spitgate from the Don’t Worry Darling press tour.
Many viewers felt that Malala seemed to not be happy about her inclusion in Kimmel’s audience interactive comedy. She responded by saying, “I only talk about peace.” Her reaction is receiving praise on Twitter.
Malala basically telling Jimmy Kimmel to go fuck himself in the most diplomatic way possible was great.
— LaT ⚖💖💜💙 (@latxcvi) March 13, 2023
Kimmel later joked about Fox News’ Tucker Carlson manipulating the Capitol Insurrection footage and airing it on Fox. The joke came just before the Best Film Editing category was announced.
Jimmy Kimmel throws shade at Fox Propagandist Tucker Carlson:
“Editors do amazing things. Editors can turn 44,000 hours of violent insurrection footage into a respectful sightseeing tour of the Capitol.” 🔥pic.twitter.com/uZtZfBRguT
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) March 13, 2023
To close out the night, Kimmel walked off stage next to a score card that counted down the “days without an Oscars incident” and flipped the count to one.
Congrats to all on an incident-free evening… #Oscars pic.twitter.com/SjDqbZyP7i
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 13, 2023
The internet had a lot to say about several moments from Kimmel’s night as host. Some felt that his opening punch line was hypocritical given his controversial career in hosting and comedy, including a skit in which he wore blackface.
why the hell did jimmy kimmel go up to malala, make that corny ass chris pine and harry styles joke and then call her malala land?? what is wrong with this man 😭 #oscars pic.twitter.com/3Ld73NPcgX
— yee yee (@yEeyEe006) March 13, 2023
— Local Person (@LaFours_) March 13, 2023
Did he include some "black face" cosmetics and instructions on how to talk real slow and not use big words when dressed in "black face"? pic.twitter.com/YjLEm0Yr4h
— Decidedly Uncouth (@Captain_Uncouth) March 13, 2023
On the other hand, members of the press at the event voiced support for Kimmel’s interaction with the audience. Kimmel’s team left snack packs for audience members to munch on during the lengthy awards ceremony.
For the first time since I’ve attended the Oscars, there’s a box of snacks under every seat with a bottle of water, Hot Tamales, a pretzel and a note from Jimmy Kimmel. “Eat this. You’re hungry.” #Oscars2023 pic.twitter.com/NyrN3n04cc
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) March 13, 2023
Other viewers caught actor Andrew Garfield grimacing during Kimmel’s audience interactions, and the image is rapidly becoming a reaction meme across Twitter.
Me during this entire interaction between Jimmy Kimmel and the audience #Oscars pic.twitter.com/oSqO7ofIRj
— Rafa Sales Ross (@rafiews) March 13, 2023
Despite the mixed reactions to Kimmel’s hosting style online, his approach to the event was anything but shocking. Much of his content on Jimmy Kimmel Live! centers on comedic and satirical takes on current events in politics and pop culture. Despite some of his jokes not landing with a few audience members, it is evident that Kimmel was attempting to cover everything everywhere all at once.