(Brief commentary on Jimmy Kimmel being announced today to host the Oscars this year; for immediate use, online and/or in print.)
By Mike Hughes
A speck of sanity has been restored: Jimmy Kimmel (shown here) will return to hosting the Academy Awards.
That will be March 12 and will be much-needed. In a statement, Kimmel said being chosen a third time is “either a great honor or a trap.”
It may feel like both. Let’s review:
— Kimmel hosted in 2017 and 2018, doing a great job both times. Alas, few of the nominated films were ones people had seen; the winners were “Moonlight” (after a results mix-up) and “The Shape of Water.” Ratings plunged … and some people seemed to blame him for it.
— Eddie Murphy was set for 2019 … then quit in protest, when the producer was fired. Foolishly, the show decided to go hostless – and repeated that for 2020 and 2021, as ratings crashed.
— There was finally a host – three of them, actually – this year. Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall all did a good job (and ratings rebounded a bit), but only Schumer made topical references to movies and the ceremony itself.
More than any other awards show, the Oscars need a host. Acceptance speeches keep getting drabber and duller; viewers are subjected to long thank-you lists, including agents and managers.
To make this fun, a host needs to be involved – and to be interested in movies. David Letterman, for instance, is a witty guy, but his Oscars gig showed little interest in films.
That leaves Kimmel as the ideal. Whatever he’s doing – hosting the Oscars, hosting the Emmys, guesting on “American Idol” – he’s topical and prepared, yet willing to detour for a quick quip. This could be fun again.