Jimmy Kimmel returned as Oscars host for the third time on Sunday (March 12) at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. With discourse around Will Smith’s onstage slap of 2022 Oscars host Chris Rock (prior to winning best actor) being one of the biggest stories of last year, it was predictable but perhaps inevitable that Kimmel would wedge a joke about it into the 95th annual Academy Awards.
In his opening monologue, 2023 Oscars host Kimmel made jokes about Rihanna’s nine-month-old pooping backstage during rehearsals, Elvis Presley still being alive and, of course, The Slap. “Most importantly – we want me to feel safe. We have strict policies in place. 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 and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech,” Kimmel said. Separately, Kimmel also jested that with five Irish actors nominated at the 2023 Oscars, “The odds of a fight on stage just went way up.”
Later in the show, Kimmel returned to the topic before the award for best documentary feature was given out. “You may recall this is where we had that little skirmish last year. Hopefully this time it goes off without a hitch – or at least without Hitch,” he said, referencing the 2005 Will Smith film. “Please put your hands together and then keep them to yourself.”
Nick Cannon’s brood of children got a shoutout during the show. Mentioning that Avatar: The Way of Water cost Disney two billion, he quipped, “Just to break even, all Nick Cannon’s kid had to see Avatar four times.”
“This is my favorite duo of the year: Steven Spielberg and Seth Rogen. What a pair,” Kimmel said of The Fabelmans duo. “The Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood. Seth, what are you on right now, be honest. Nothing? Mushrooms, right?” Noting that Spielberg has never done a drug in his life, Kimmel joked, “You mean to tell me you were sober when you made a movie about an alien who eats Reese’s Pieces all day and can’t remember how to phone home?”