Jimmy Kimmel opened up the 95th Annual Academy Awards ceremony with some hilarious jokes in his monologue at the top of the show on Sunday, March 12. The comedian, 55, didn’t hold back in roasting lots of different stars as he playfully kicked off the show. Of course, one of the major jokes of the evening came as he called out Will Smith a year after his viral moment slapping Chris Rock. As one of his opening jokes, Jimmy explained the new measures that the Academy has taken to ensure safety. “Most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place,” he quipped. “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor.”
"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
Jimmy continued and explained that there’s a crisis team in place, but he also spotlighted tons of stars promising that they’d protect him if anyone tried to rush the stage. “If any of you get made at a joke and decide you want to come up here and get jiggy with it, it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “You’re going to have to get through the heavyweight champion Adonis Creed [Michael B. Jordan], before you get to me. You’re going to have to do battle with Michelle Yeoh before you get to me. You’re going to have to beat The Mandalorian [Pedro Pascal] before you get to me. You’re going to have to tango with Spider-Man [Andrew Garfield]. You are going to have to tango with Fabelman [Steven Spielberg], and then you’re going to have to go through my right-hand man Guillermo to get to this stage.”
After listing the celebrities who would keep him safe, Jimmy promised, “There will be no nonsense tonight.”
Earlier in his speech, Jimmy poked fun at Nicole Kidman’sviral AMC ad, joking that she was “released from that abandoned AMC where she has been held captive for almost two whole years now.” He thanked her for thanking moviegoers to go to theaters, even though they were already there.
Later when speaking about the massive success of Avatar: The Way Of Water, Jimmy snuck in a joke about Nick Cannon and his many kids. “Just to break even, all of Nick Cannon’s kids had to see Avatar four times,” he joked. “And they did, I guess.”
Jimmy had plenty of people laughing before the ceremony even began when he released his first trailer for the ceremony back in February. The preview opened with a Top Gun: Maverick parody, starring Jon Hamm and Charles Parnell, where he listed the many choices the award ceremony asked to host before landing on the late night host. He joked about being “unflappable” and “unslappable,” in a reference to the viral moment when Will Smith smacked Chris Rock during last year’s show. In the sketch, Jimmy pitches song and dance numbers, before running through the cliches that host monologues often have. It ended with nine-time Oscar host Billy Crystal giving his stamp of approval and advising to “give the kid a shot,” even though Jimmy’s already hosted twice.
Ahead of the show, Jimmy had promised that “no blood would be shed” in reference to the slap heard ’round the world, in a press conference. He was still very excited to take part in the historic ceremony, even referencing the last-resort nature of his sketch in a statement to People. “Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honor or a trap,” he said. “Either way, I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.”
The comedian is no stranger to the Oscars. Jimmy had previously hosted the show back in 2017 and 2018. He’s also given details about what his experience was on both occasions on his talk show. After the 2017 ceremony, when the wrong movie was accidentally announced for Best Picture (with La La Land mistaken for Moonlight), Jimmy gave his play-by-play on how the wrong winner was announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Even when he hasn’t hosted, he’s made jokes consistently, like when gave his breakdown of the Chris Rock-Will Smith incident last year.
Besides the Oscars, Jimmy has also served as the host for the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2012, 2016, and 2020, so being the MC for an award show is definitely a skill that he’s well prepared for. Besides the hosting gig, it’s been a monumental year for Jimmy, especially in regards to his talk show. He celebrated that his show had first aired 20 years before in a special episode back in January. To revisit the 20th anniversary, he reunited with original guests Snoop Dogg and George Clooney and even welcomed back the first musical guest Coldplay.