After parachuting in from his friend Tom Cruise’s plane, the comedian began his monologue on Sunday night by roasting the celebrities in the room, from Nicole Kidman (“thank you for encouraging people who were already at the movie theater to go to the movie theater”) to Steven Spielberg and Seth Rogen (“the Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood”).
“It was a very good year for movies. Business is booming,” Kimmel said. “I know people like to debate, which is better, movies or TV? But here’s the thing. No matter how good a show is, there are some things that movies can do that TV just can’t. For example, a TV show can’t lose $100 million. Is the gang from Babylon here? They know.”
Not only was Cruise, who “saved movies” with Top Gun: Maverick, not in the building, but Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron was absent as well. “Some of the cynics are saying Jim Cameron isn’t here because he didn’t get a Best Director nomination, and while I find that very hard to believe about a man who has such deep humility, he does have a point,” the host joked. “I mean, how does the academy not nominate the guy who directed Avatar? What do they think he is… a woman?”
And finally, Kimmel got to the moment that defined last year’s awards show. “We want you to have fun, feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” he said. “So, we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech.”
“But seriously, the academy has a crisis team in place,” the host continued, declining to call out Smith, who was not allowed to be in the room, by name. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug! And if any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to ‘get jiggy with it,’ it’s not going to be easy.”
Kimmel then read off a list of people who any Will Smith wannabes would have to get through before getting on stage, from Michael B. Jordan to Michelle Yeoh to his very own bodyguard/Jimmy Kimmel Live! sidekick Guillermo.
“I know he’s cute, but make no mistake: You even so much as wave at me, that sweet little man will beat the Lydia Tár out of you.”