Jimmy Kimmel to host Oscars for the third time

The comedian is seen as a safe pair of hands by organisers

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Organisers hope the funnyman will help to 'reinvigorate' the Oscars 'to a position of power'. AFP
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Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars for a third time, organisers said on Monday, as Hollywood's biggest awards show tries to leave behind the controversy still swirling around its most recent event.

Kimmel is seen by the industry as a safe pair of hands for the 95th Academy Awards, after the last Oscars in March featured a shocking moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock live on stage.

"Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honour or a trap," Kimmel said.

"Either way, I am grateful to the academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said 'no'," joked the host, best known for ABC's long-running late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Kimmel previously hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018. On the first of those occasions, La La Land was accidentally announced as the best picture winner, before Moonlight was awarded the night's final prize.

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz (L) shows the card saying "Moonlight" won the best picture as actor Warren Beatty  (C), and Host Jimmy Kimmel look on at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)

He also drew near-universal praise for his hosting of television's Emmys in 2020, when organisers scrambled to produce a socially distanced show from a near-empty Los Angeles theatre early in the pandemic.

Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, producers of the next Oscars, said Kimmel "will be funny and ready for anything!"

Academy chief executive Bill Kramer and president Janet Yang said Kimmel would be the "perfect host" for the ceremony, noting his "live TV expertise".

Oscars television ratings have markedly declined in recent years, like nearly all award shows, although they rebounded to 16.6 million last year, from a record low of 9.9 million for 2021.

The moment when Smith struck comedian Rock for quipping about his wife's hair-loss drew enormous attention, but was criticised for overshadowing the night's winners.

In a September meeting with Academy members, Kramer set out plans to "reinvigorate" the Oscars "to a position of power, honourability, and importance," including a renewed focus on "love and reverence for film".

While recent Oscars have been largely dominated by smaller, more arthouse-oriented films, many analysts predict crowd-pleasers such as Top Gun: Maverick and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could feature prominently next time.

The Oscars will be held on March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Updated: November 08, 2022, 1:13 PM
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