On Oscars Sunday, We All Know What We’re Getting From Host Jimmy Kimmel—And That’s Exactly the Point

Kudos to Kimmel for also poking fun at the Academy’s snubs in the segment. When Gosling (nominated for best supporting actor) declares, “Greta’s got director in the bag!” an alarmed-looking Ferrera informs him that Greta Gerwig was not, in fact, nominated in that category.

The moment called to mind Kimmel’s deft opening monologue at last year’s ceremony, when he dutifully but lightheartedly reminded everyone what went down between Will Smith and Chris Rock in 2022. “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” he said. “If any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to come up here and get jiggy with it, it’s not going to be easy.”

Not that he really needed to be worried. Amid the tornado of egos, production timetables, monologues, and commercial breaks that makes up the Academy Awards, Kimmel is a stabilizing presence, perfectly familiar. We have a pretty good sense of what we’re going to get from him. On Sunday night, he’ll likely command the stage with an “Oh, this old hosting gig?” attitude, and the same don’t-shoot-the-messenger joke delivery that he’s perfected on his own show. He’s funny—no one has denied him that—but his jokes tend to point at the line from afar rather than cross it. Take this crack, from last year’s opener: “Looking around the room, I can’t help thinking: Is Ozempic right for me?”

But I think what really powers Kimmel’s humor is the fact that he’s got nothing to prove. He isn’t heading to the Dolby Theatre for the fame or glory, and he’s most certainly not in it for the paycheck. Interviewing Wanda Sykes on his show before her own Oscars co-hosting gig, with Amy Schumer Regina Hall, in 2022, Kimmel boldly broadcast his compensation for the job. “I got paid $15,000 to host the Oscars,” he told Sykes. “It sounds like a lot for one night, but it’s months of work leading up to it.” 

By Monday morning, some Hollywood dreams will have come true, while others shattered—but as Kimmel told CNN, he already knows how things are going to end for him. “I don’t have talents, really,” he says. “It’s not like I have a secret love for dance. I’ll go out and tell some jokes. They’ll either laugh or they won’t, and afterward they’ll say, ‘You were terrible.’” 

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