Jimmy Kimmel Oscar Monologue: Host Leaves Late-Night Beefs Behind To Honor Hollywood, Messi The Dog And Teamsters, Jabs Voters For Gerwig Snub

Jimmy Kimmel left his usual late-night beefs off the Oscar stage tonight, ignoring Trump, Santos, Aaron Rodgers to focus entirely on Hollywood’s big night, with only one not-so-veiled political jab included in a mostly gentle opening segment.

In a very brief pre-taped bit that had Kimmel telling Barbie that he hadn’t eaten in three weeks, the fourth-time Oscar host began his monologue by noting that the ABC broadcast — which started an hour earlier than usual — was already running five minutes behind schedule (true). Not to worry, he added, “We’ll still end very, very late.”

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The comedian took an early swipe at flop Madame Web, saying, “This night is full of enormous talent, and untold potential, but so was Madame Web.”

Kimmel also got in an early swipe at the classic Mattel doll that spawned this year’s blockbuster, saying that his wife, until Barbie, was less likely to offer their daughter a cigarette than the plastic, pre-feminist plaything.

Yet another Barbie-related jab came at the expense of Oscar voters: When Kimmel said many people believed Greta Gerwig deserved to be nominated in the Director category — which naturally drew audience applause — the host added, “I know you’re clapping but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her.”

Kimmel then congratulated Barbie stars Margo Robbie and Ryan Gosling whether they win the gold tonight or not: “You’ve already won the genetic lottery.” He added, “Ryan, you are so hot, let’s go camping together and not tell our wives.”

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The host also teased Oppenheimer nominee Robert Downey Jr., noting that tonight is the highest point in “a long and industrious career,” pausing just long enough for the audience to get ahead of the joke. When Downey touched his nose, Kimmel said, “Too on the nose, or was that a drug reference?”

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Next up came a joke about Messi the dog, who has a big drug overdose scene in Anatomy of a Fall: “I haven’t seen a French actor eat vomit like that since Gérard Depardieu.”

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Kimmel’s only overt political joke of the night came when he pointed out Emma Stone in the audience, saying that in Poor Things Stone played an “adult woman with the brain of a child, like the lady who gave the State of the Union rebuttal.” (That would be Alabama Repbulican Sen. Katie Britt.)

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Kimmel also joked about the ever-expanding average length, saying in time to takes to watch Killers of the Flower Moon, “you could drive to Oklahoma and solve the murder yourself.”

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After making a de rigueur reference to Robert De Niro’s dating habits – “In 1976, Jodie Foster was young enough to be his daughter, but now she’s 20 years too old to be his girlfriend” (to which Foster nodded in agreement — Kimmel shifted gears to address this year’s writer and actor strikes (“not the directors, you guys folded immediately”), Kimmel then praised Hollywood’s laborers — Teamsters, truck drivers, gaffers, grips — leading a standing ovation as tux-clad workers joined the host on stage.

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Kimmel is hosting the Oscars for the fourth time. The 96th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles kicks off on ABC at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT.

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