If it feels too early to be talking about who is hosting the 2023 Oscars, IT IS. Usually, host announcements come a month or so before the ceremony, but after the mess made earlier this year, the Academy is being pro-active about seeming in charge. Yesterday, they announced Jimmy Kimmel will return to host the Oscars for the third time. Molly McNearney, his wife and creative partner, will act as one of the executive producers. I mean, fine. It’s not a bold decision, but after The Slap, I don’t think anyone is expecting boldness from the Academy. More like, cover-your-ass staidness.


Kimmel previously hosted in 2017, the year of Envelope-gate, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong Best Picture winner, and he also hosted the much less dramatic 2018 ceremony. I do wonder if that experience is why Kimmel was tapped for 2023. He knows what it takes to come back from a disastrous telecast. It also keeps things comfortably in-house for ABC, also the home of Jimmy Kimmel Live, so there will not be a chance for an “outsider” to poke fun at ABC for sharing in any part of The Slap theatrics. If those jokes are to be made, they’ll come from Kimmel, who’s on the home team. He often hosts the ABC upfront presentations, where he is known to roast his own network in front of advertisers and media. I think that is another preeminent reason to bring him in, to have those jokes come from someone invested in not taking it too far.


Kimmel is about as safe a bet as the Academy—fronted by new leadership in the form of new CEO Bill Kramer and newly elected president Janet Yang—and ABC can make. It tells us not to expect any sparks beyond, probably, a few obligatory jokes about The Slap off the top. Also, this will probably be a more traditional broadcast after the experimentation of the last few years, with all the categories announced during the live show again, and a ceremony that will “honor” the year in cinema. Kramer and Yang conducted a member survey earlier this year that basically said everyone hates the Oscars now, even Academy members—especially post-Slap—and they’re vowing to get back to basics. Hiring Jimmy Kimmel is certainly basic.