So long as the right winners were announced, Jimmy Kimmel was going to consider the 90th Academy Awards a huge success. At the same time, there was a lot riding on this climax of the latest awards season which has been more political and socially aware than any awards season in decades, but Kimmel handled it like a pro.
2017 was the year of #MeToo, with #TimesUp emerging at the Golden Globes. Sexual harassment and misconduct dominated the headlines through the months leading up to this awards season, and celebrities put themselves at the forefront of the conversation as many of Hollywood's top men found themselves under a microscope, or in more extreme circumstances, out of the industry altogether.
Kimmel deftly navigated all of that in a monologue that meandered all over the place and yet never lost sight of what they're all there for, either. You know, the movies! Below are some of his best jokes.
Best Picture Fiasco Callback
"This year when you hear your name called, don't get up right away," Kimmel suggested, in a callback to the Best Picture fiasco of last year that saw the wrong winner announced.
By way of explanation, Kimmel said, "Last year, about a week before the show the producers asked me if I wanted to do some comedy with the accountants. I said, 'Nah, I don't want to do some comedy with the accountants.' So then the accountants went ahead and did comedy on their own ... and I have to hand them to him. It was hilarious."
Oscar Is the Best Man in Hollywood
He delved into the #MeToo movement by heaping praise on the Oscar statuette itself. "He keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and most importantly, no penis at all," Kimmel pointed out on an oversized statue to the side of the stage. "He is literally a statue of limitations, and that's the kinda men we need more of in this town."
That brought him to the type of men we need less of in Hollywood, exemplified most by Harvey Weinstein, who was expelled from the Academy. "The only other person to be expelled from the academy ever was a character actor named Carmine Caridi. Carmine Caridi got the same punishment as Harvey Weinstein for giving his neighbor a copy of 'Seabiscuit' on VHS."
He went on to say, "Here's how clueless Hollywood is about women. We made a movie called 'What Women Want' and it starred Mel Gibson." Apparently it didn't get better, as he said, "We will always this year as the year men screwed up so badly women started dating fish," referencing Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water."
Hollywood Pay Disparity
Kimmel also talked about the pay disparity in Hollywood, brought to the forefront most by the "All the Money in the World" reshoots that scored Mark Wahlberg $1.5 million dollars, while co-star Michelle Williams only got per diem. "To his credit, Mark Wahlberg said he would be donating all $1.5 million dollars to the Time's Up legal defense fund," he said. "So I guess the ball's in your corner now, Michele. What are you gonna do with that $80?"
Even Donald Trump is a fan of minority-driven films, according to Kimmel, who joked, "None other than President Trump called 'Get Out' the best first three quarters of a movie this year." He had a jab ready for the vice president, too, adding, "We don't make films like 'Call Me by Your Name' to make money. We make them to upset Mike Pence."
Representation in Hollywood
Representation of gender, orientation and race is improving in Hollywood, and the success of "Black Panther" -- which Kimmel pointed out was beating all of the nominated films at the box office -- is proof that audiences are demanding it. "I remember a time when the major studios didn't believe a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie," Kimmel said. "And the reason I remember that time is because it was March of last year."
He wrapped up his monologue with a plea to the nominated stars to say what they wanted to say, but consider keeping it short and sweet. And to sweeten the deal, he created a contest. "Here's what we're going to do," he explained. "Whoever gives the shortest speech tonight will go home with--" An announcer took over to say, "It's a brand new jet ski!"
Helen Mirren worked as the model, showing off this beautiful piece that Kimmel swore someone would win. "Why waste precious time thanking your mom, when you could be taking her for the ride of her life on a brand new jet ski?" he asked. "In the unlikely event of a tie, I need to say the jet ski will be awarded to Christopher Plummer."