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Kimmel began by addressing last year’s so-called “Envelopegate” mixup, where La La Land was accidentally awarded the best picture Oscar instead of Moonlight. “I do want to mention: This year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away,” he joked, also saying that “last year about a week before the show, the producers asked me if I wanted to do some comedy with the accountants.” Kimmel said no, “so then, the accountants went and did some comedy on their own.”
This year, he said, the chairman of the accounting firm in charge of handing out envelopes, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that their focus will be on the show and delivering the right envelopes. “Just out of curiosity though, what was your focus the other 89 years?” Kimmel joked.
Kimmel then alluded to the fact that Sunday’s ceremony marked the Academy Awards’ 90th birthday. “Oscar is 90 years old this year, which means he’s probably at home watching Fox News,” Kimmel joked.
“Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. Just look at him,” Kimmel said, noting that the statue keeps his hands where everyone can see them and had no penis. “He is literally a statue of limitations.”
He said that over the course of the evening, he hoped guests would listen to people from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “This is a night for positivity,” he said, adding that the night would shine a light on inspiring films, “each one of which was crushed by Black Panther this weekend.”
He continued: “I remember a time when the major studios didn’t believe a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie. And I remember that time because it was March of last year.”
Kimmel also mentioned that the ceremony had its first female nominee for cinematography, Rachel Morrison, and that Greta Gerwig was the only female nominee in the directing category. “If you are a nominee tonight who is not making history, shame on you.”
He then addressed the pay-disparity story related to the All the Money in the World reshoots, where stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were paid vastly different amounts though they were represented by the same agency, WME. “This story really shook me because if we can’t trust agents, who can we trust?” Kimmel joked.
Addressing first-time nominee Jordan Peele, writer-director of Get Out, Kimmel said, “None other than President Trump called Get Out ‘the best first three-quarters of a movie this year.'”
Kimmel then turned his attention to The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, which leads the field with 13 nominations. “Thanks to Guillermo, we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish,” Kimmel joked.
He invited all winners to speak about whatever they wanted, and said that the Academy Awards offered an important platform for their messages. He pointed out that The March for Our Lives, organized by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting, could be a potential topic of acceptance speeches, or thanking parents. That said, Kimmel announced that the winner who gives the shortest speech of the evening would get a green Kawasaki jet-ski. (Helen Mirren presented it, like a game show hostess.)
“In the unlikely event of a tie, the jet-ski will be awarded to Christopher Plummer,” Kimmel added.
Later in the ceremony, Kimmel returned to the topic of Envelopegate, saying, “At [the first] Oscars, they gave out two awards for best picture — kind of what we did last year.”
Guests tweeted before the ceremony that Kimmel left a box filled with snacks, Listerine strips, and other goodies beneath every seat at the Dolby Theatre. “It wouldn’t be right to make you sit through this without snacks. Please don’t throw them at me,” Kimmel wrote in an accompanying letter.
During last year’s monologue, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host cracked several jokes about President Donald Trump and his friend (and faux nemesis) Matt Damon. He also memorably brought riders on a Hollywood tour bus into the ceremony in one joke sketch and diffused tension during Envelopegate by joking that it was his fault that the envelopes were mixed up.
“I blame myself for this. We got to see some extra speeches. I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. I promise I’ll never come back,” he said.
The 90th annual Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, airing on ABC and live-streaming on ABCGo.com for cable subscribers.
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