The rules have changed. Throw out the playbook. The Oscars will never be the same ever again.
So it’s fitting that Jimmy Kimmel was the host. Because what do we say about the Oscar hosts every year? “Ugh, they were boring.” “God, where did they even go? I forgot they were the host at all!” “Ugh, that person SUCKS, who thought they were funny? Or host-y?”
I don’t know about you, but nobody around me said or thought any of those things about Jimmy Kimmel. Because he was energetic but not sweaty, he kept things moving right along but he was also ready to beat a damned Matt Damon joke into the bloody dirt, and most of all, he was not afraid of losing the crowd, so he never did. It’s so incredibly rare, I can’t think of the last time a host was this successful.
This is because Jimmy Kimmel is a live TV host, period. He’s comfortable doing shows like this. He does it literally all the time, and if he’s going to do a stunt, like mocking Matt Damon to the point where you know Matt Damon won’t cry but you actually think he might a little bit cry, he can back it up.
But at what’s supposed to be everyone’s party, Kimmel is not exactly warm and welcoming. Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman are nice and everyone likes them, and Chris Rock and Seth MacFarlane tell rough jokes but cackle at their own punchlines, but Kimmel is just being himself. Like the way you assume he’d be in his living room. He mocks Mel Gibson to his face. Trolls the president. He says funny things out loud, regardless of how you feel about it. Especially if you happen to be a little different somehow…
Gags like the tourists who paraded through the theatre are always one part funny and one part condescending, but telling someone whose name is Yulary that it’s not a real name, as opposed to Patrick, is being a dick. That’s a real person, who may or may not have known what they were getting into. Way to tell her she’s not a real person. It wasn’t just Yulary either; Kimmel made a point of making fun of Mahershala Ali’s name several times, which is a nice way to undermine someone who’s just won a huge award and a pretty obvious indicator that Kimmel thinks only Anglo names are ‘real’ and ‘normal’, which is…not exactly distancing himself or the show from the #OscarsSoWhite labels.
So this is the tradeoff? Get mediocre hosts, but they’re really nice, or an excellent host who’s kind of a jerk sometimes? Especially when ‘excellent’ now clearly needs to include ‘casually smooths things over during the Oscars greatest crisis ever’?