For the opening moments of the 2017 Academy Awards, Justin Timberlake stole the show, but first-time host Jimmy Kimmel had a zinger locked and loaded as soon as the singer-actor was done with “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
“I hope the other members of *NSYNC were watching that,” said Kimmel, beginning his monologue. “Because if they were I think there’s a really good chance they’re gonna let you back in the band.”
All kidding aside, the Dolby Theatre was really grooving along with JT (who, don’t forget, really did reunite with *NSYNC at a recent award show), presenting a tough act to follow for Kimmel. But Kimmel’s no stranger to big-time hosting gigs (he presided over the 2016 Emmys) and he jumped right into the night’s hot topics — in other words, politics.
“I want to say thank you to President Trump — remember last year when people thought the Oscars were racist?”
Kimmel got a warm reaction to that one, and similarly noted that many of the countries watching the Oscars probably hate the U.S. by now.
Staying on the topic of race, the host offered another mild-mannered jab at two of the night’s most high-profile nominees, Hidden Figures and La La Land. He toasted 2016 as the year “black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz.”
In emceeing the Oscars, Kimmel follows 2016 host Chris Rock, who got last year’s show off to a memorable start with a scathing monologue on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.