Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t kidding when he promised there wouldn’t be any blows at the Oscars this year. The nightly host showed up for this third appearance as an Academy Awards emcee with plenty of reinforcements to avoid a repeat of last year’s infamous Will Smith/Chris Rock incident.
“We want you to feel safe…and we do me to feel safe, so we have a strict policy,” Kimmel said at the end of his monologue, before calling out the action heroes in the crowd who will be involved in putting that “policy” into practice.
“If any of you get mad at a joke and decide to go over here and ‘play with it,'” you have to go through Adonis Creed to get to me,” Kimmel said, as the cameras rolled again. – beaten Creed III box office champion Michael B. Jordan. And Rocky’s pupil wasn’t the only bubble in the crowd. “You’ll have to battle Michelle Yeoh before you get to me,” Kimmel continued, as the Asian action movie icon — and Best Actress nominee — struck a fierce pose from her seat.
Kimmel’s protector roll call included Pedro “The Mandalorian” Pascal, Andrew “Spider-Man” Garfield (unfortunately his No way home Spider-Bros Tom Holland and Tobey Maguire were not present), Steven “Jaws” Spielberg and, of course, Guillermo… no, not the Pinocchio director. “The sweet little guy will knock the Lydia Tár out of you,” Kimmel said of his nighttime sidekick. “We don’t have time for jokes tonight.”
Kimmel also took a not-so-subtle swipe at the producing team that caused Rock/Smith to divert “shenanigans” from last year’s awards. “If anyone in this theater commits a violent act at any point in the show, you get the Oscar for Best Actor and you get to give a 19-minute speech,” he said, referring to the Academy’s inaction. or the show’s producers immediately after the blow.
“The Academy has a crisis team and if something unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year. Nothing. Just sit and do nothing at all. Maybe even give the attacker a hug.”
Smith and Rock weren’t the only absent figures Kimmel called from the stage. He also noted how strange it was that the biggest proponents of the theatrical experience – James Cameron and Tom Cruise – turned down the chance to spend nearly four hours at the Dolby Theater. Notably, Cruise also declined to attend the Golden Globes in January, which opened the door for the ceremony’s host, Jerrod Carmichael, to pull off a Scientology joke that immediately went viral.
Kimmel promptly took a page from Carmichael’s book and praised Cruise’s performance on the beach volleyball scene of Top gun: Maverick. “Tom Cruise with his shirt off? L. Ron Hubba Hubba.”
As for Cameron, Kimmel used the avatar director’s absence as a way to do like Natalie Portman at the 2018 Golden Globes and comment on the apparent lack of female nominees in the Best Director category. “I mean, how does the Academy not nominate the guy who directed avatar? What do they think he is, a woman?” The host specifically referenced two high-profile female-directed films that were frowned upon: Until And The Queen of Women — and encouraged audiences at home to seek them out.
Too bad the Woman King herself, Viola Davis, wasn’t in the audience – with her action hero transformation, she could have joined Adonis Creed and Spider-Man in keeping the ceremony shenanigans free.