Jimmy Kimmel only kept a gag about Tom Cruise’s Scientology membership in his Oscars monologue after show bosses heard the ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ actor had pulled out of attending the ceremony.
Chat show host Jimmy, 55, returned for his third time to front this year’s Academy Awards, with his wife Molly McNearney, 45, executive producer of the show, which saw him poke fun at Tom and Will Smith’s ‘Slapgate’ scandal.
Molly told Variety how Jimmy had planned to dedicate a significant segment of his monologue to Tom Cruise and how his blockbuster ‘Top Gun: Maverick had “saved” cinemas after the Covid pandemic, but it was all ditched when Tom decided not to show up at Sunday’s (12.03.23) awards.
She added: “Jimmy loves Tom. Tom had just been on the show the week before.
“And they talked about seeing each other and Jimmy was excited to tell him that we got real Navy pilots to do the flyover at the top of the Oscars. Jimmy was really disappointed he didn’t come.”
Referring to the religion’s founder L Ron Hubbard, Jimmy said about Tom’s long-time involvement in the Church of Scientology during his monologue: “Everyone loved ‘Top Gun’. Everybody. Tom Cruise with his shirt off in that beach football scene? L. Ron Hubba Hubba, you know what I mean?”
Molly admitted to Variety when asked if the joke would have remained in if Tom had attended the Oscars: “No. We had about a three-minute chunk of the monologue dedicated to Tom Cruise, honouring him and his role in reviving the movie industry.
“We were so disappointed when we learned a few days before the Oscars that he wouldn’t be there. Jimmy loves him and really wanted to celebrate him.”