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Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last fall, it’s deservedly been #TimesUp for a lot of men in Hollywood, but at least one has come through these tumultuous months with his reputation still intact. We’re talking, of course, about Oscar, the little gold man that the industry’s biggest event — the annual Academy Awards ceremony — is all about.
And second-time host Jimmy Kimmel made sure to give the dude his due during his opening monologue. “Oscar is 90 years old,” Kimmel remarked during his monologue, before reeling off the reasons why he’s still the “most beloved and respected” guy in Hollywood. “He keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word. And most importantly, no penis at all! He is literally a statue of limitations. That’s the kind of men we need more of in this town.”
For what it’s worth, Kimmel’s monologue, which alternated neatly between serious sentiments and silly one-liners, establishes him as the kind of Oscars host the industry needs more of in this time of seismic change. It also allowed him to exorcise the demons left over from the “wrong envelope” fiasco that closed out last year’s ceremony, an incident that was acknowledged right off the top.
“This year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away,” Kimmel joked, before letting us all in on a little secret. “I’ve not told this story in public: Last year, about a week before the show, the producers asked me if I wanted to do some comedy with the accountants. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do comedy with the accountants.’ Then the accountants went ahead and did the comedy on their own!”
Sorry, PricewaterhouseCoopers — Kimmel definitely didn’t need any help in the comedy department. Watch the entire monologue above and check out our half-dozen highlights from his opening act below:
1. Much as we would have loved to have seen Celebrity Street Fights With Mario Lopez, the black-and-white introduction to Kimmel’s monologue was a technical K.O., successfully marrying the patter of 1920s newsreels with 2010s jokes. Opining on Armie Hammer, the absurdly handsome star of Call Me by Your Name, for example, the narrator revealed that the actor “was born when a witch put a curse on a Ken doll.” As for Salma Hayek Pinault, being seated next to The Shape of Water‘s Fish Man inspired the perfect pitch of a hybrid sequel: Fishy Shades of Grey.
2. To illustrate how much the #TimesUp movement has changed Hollywood in only a few short months, Kimmel invited all of us to think back to the kinds of movies that were being made and marketed to that demographic in the year 2000. “Here’s how clueless Hollywood is about women: We made a movie called What Women Want and it starred Mel Gibson. That’s kinda all you need to know.”
3. While Black Panther wasn’t up for any Oscars — this year, at least — the cast of the Marvel blockbuster lit up the red carpet, riding high on their film’s muscular $500 million and counting box-office gross. And Kimmel knew he couldn’t avoid the panther in the room. “Our plan is to shine a light on a group of inspiring and outstanding films,” he said of the night’s Best Picture nominees, before adding “each one of which got crushed by Black Panther this weekend.”
4. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Jack Nicholson was the Oscar regular the host loved to call out from the stage. These days, perennial nominee Meryl Streep has assumed that role, if not Nicholson’s sunglasses. And Kimmel paid tribute to the grande dame of American cinema, hinting at her history as a not-so-secret badass. “Her film career started in 1977. The longest she went without a nomination is from 1992 to 1995, and that’s only because those were the years where she was in prison.”
5. Kimmel didn’t hesitate to poke fun at the president. Pointing out “the stunning Lupita Nyong’o,” Kimmel noted, “She was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya. Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!” Kimmel then observed that Get Out mastermind Jordan Peele is “only the first person in 90 years to be nominated for directing, writing and best picture for his debut film. What a debut it was! None other than President Trump called Get Out the best first three-quarters of a movie this year.”
6. While we love long, heartfelt acceptance speeches, Kimmel came up with an inspired way of coaxing victors to keep their thank-yous short and sweet: a Jet Ski presented by another grande dame of cinema, Helen Mirren. But he did come up with one unique wrinkle: “In the unlikely event of a tie, the Jet Ski will go to Christopher Plummer.”
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