There were many Oscar highlights, but let’s be honest, there were many Oscar lowlights, including the nature and delivery of the telecast itself. Some people believe that what happened last year – Will Smith slapping Chris Rock live on stage – was the end of the Oscars as we know it, and the Oscars needed to go super-traditional and staid this year as a way to “get back to normal.” The people who believe that hired Jimmy Kimmel as host and gave him free reign to make “jokes” at Will Smith’s expense. Here’s his opening monologue:
“We want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe, so if 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 nineteen-minute long speech. No, but seriously, the Academy has a crisis team in place. 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 want to come here and get jiggy with it, it’s not gonna be easy…”
Like, he lost me completely. Criticizing last year’s audience for… not freaking out when the slap happened? When several people in the room – including the titans of Black hollywood Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper – all took it upon themselves to manage the crisis and speak to Will to calm him down? What was supposed to happen, in Kimmel’s mind? Was supposed to tackle Will when he accepted his Oscar? Kimmel is just salty because he was one of the comics who saw Rock get slapped and thought “what if that happened to ME?” Anyway, I found it the wrong tone… especially given that no Black actors won last night and two Black actresses were notably snubbed for nominations AND Angela Bassett lost. It felt like the Academy’s lesson was “snub the f–k out of Black entertainers, make them the butt of the joke.”
Kimmel’s “bits” just kept falling flat, usually because he decided to kill time and do uncomfortable patter right after some artist of color was cut off from the mic as they tearfully tried to thank their moms. This bit with Malala Yousafzai was bad, all of this stuff in the audience was terrible.
He also brought out the donkey, Jenny, from Banshees. Do we need to have live animals at the Oscars?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.