Opening this year’s Academy Awards ceremony was always going to be a tough task, given the tumultuous past twelve months in Hollywood. But host Jimmy Kimmel more than ably covered phenomenal amounts of ground in a very short amount of time in his opening monologue.
Kimmel first addressed the elephant in the trophy room by directly referencing last year’s Best Picture debacle, in which La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture Oscar winner, despite the award actually being meant for Moonlight.
But from there, Kimmel’s attentions turned to litany of controversies that have plagued the Hollywood industry throughout the past year.
He referenced Harvey Weinstein, noting that the only other person to be expelled from the Academy in its history was booted in 2004 for the comparatively minor indiscretion of sharing Award screeners.
Kimmel also noted that Oscar, the statuette itself, is the most respected man in Hollywood, given that its hands are always in view, and it lacks a penis; in Kimmel’s words, Oscar is “literally a Statue of Limitations.”
The Oscars host was not done there; he went on to point out imbalance in representation of race and gender in award nominations, noting that Greta Gerwig was the first female Best Director nominee in 8 years, and joking about remembering a time where Hollywood didn’t think females and people of colour could anchor superhero movies, and that time being last March.
Importantly, Kimmel also referenced social movements like MeToo, Time’s Up, Never Again, and March For Our Lives, foreshadowing a ceremony that is no doubt going to be dotted with the highlighting of important social issues.
It’s as good, given the circumstances, as a monologue delivered by someone like Kimmel could’ve possibly ever been. Despite his own past history with questionable content.
‘Course it would’ve been better served and far more impactful coming from a female host, but a win – in these turbulent times – is still a win.