Jimmy Kimmel opened the 95th Oscars Sunday night with only the mildest of jabs at stars including nominees Austin Butler and Steven Spielberg, as well as Nicole Kidman’s ever-present AMC ad.
His genuinely funny monologue didn’t skimp on references to Will Smith’s infamous Oscar slap last year, with Kimmel joking that anyone who committed violence at the awards show would “be given the Best Actor Oscar and allowed to make a 19-minute speech.”
After parachuting in as if dropped off by Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” character, Kimmel quipped, “I’m happy to see that Nicole Kidman has finally been released from that abandoned AMC where she has been held captive for almost two full years now. It’s good to have you back. And thank you for encouraging people who are already at the movie theater to go to the movies.”
“Everybody looks so great. When you look around this room I can’t help but wonder if Ozempic is right for me,” he quipped about the insulin drug that’s often used for quick weight loss.
Kimmel also took a shot at Best Actor nominee Butler, whose still-lingering Elvis Presley voice has been much mentioned: “He was so convincing as Elvis, still is.”
After noting that nominees Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan starred in “Encino Man” 31 years ago, he then took a shot at the comedy’s star, Pauly Shore: “Maybe it’s time to reboot ‘Biodome.'”
Kimmel then segued to “The Fabelmans” director Spielberg: “They say Hollywood is running out of new ideas. Poor Steven Spielberg had to make a movie about Steven Spielberg.” He then awkwardly referred to director and “Fabelman” actor Seth Rogen as “the Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood.”
Riffing on Rogen’s well-known love of weed, Kimmel joked that it was impossible Spielberg had never smoked pot when he came up with “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” saying, “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? You were high as a bike when you made that movie.”
He then acknowledged the record-breaking nominations for Spielberg across six decades and also “Fabelmans” composer John Williams, who at 91 is now the oldest nominee on record.
Kimmel also took aim at Warner Bros’ decision to shelve the nearly completed “Batgirl” film: “‘Batgirl’ became the first superhero to be defeated by an accounting department.”
And instead of winners being played offstage by the orchestra, he announced they would be escorted off by the dancers from the Indian epic “RRR,” as several energetic hoofers performed the “Naatu Naatu” routine around him.
His final joke was about the length of many of the nominated films: “Now it’s my turn to make you sit in the he theater for three-and-a-half hours.”