Oscars Host Jimmy Kimmel Mocks Tom Cruise’s Scientology Ties, Will Smith Slap
Speaking to Rolling Stone ahead of his third Oscar-hosting stint, Jimmy Kimmel relayed that him and his late-night writing team had been putting in hours and hours of prep work for cinema’s biggest night.
Well, it finally came. And Kimmel didn’t disappoint.
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! funnyman kicked off his Oscars monologue with a Top Gun: Maverick bit that saw Tom Cruise’s Maverick eject him from his fighter plane and onto the Dolby Theatre stage. After crew members removed his parachute, the comic got down to business.
“I am happy to see that Nicole Kidman has finally been released from that abandoned AMC, where she has been held captive for almost two years now,” Kimmel cracked. “It’s good to have you back, Nicole. And thank you for encouraging people that were already at the movie theater to go to the movie theater.”
Kimmel sprinkled his monologue with a smattering of light-roast jokes aimed at the audience, from “I can’t help wondering… is Ozempic right for me?” to how rough of a night it must be for Pauly Shore to see two of his Encino Man co-stars (Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan) nominated for Oscars.
There were knocks at Babylon losing $100 million, classy shout-outs to snubbed films Till and The Woman King, and a slight jab at the Academy for not nominating any women — as is their wont — in the Best Director category.
“How does the Academy not nominate the guy who directed Avatar?” Kimmel said of James Cameron’s Oscar-night absence. “What do they think he is… a woman?”
Then came Kimmel’s ballsiest joke: a Scientology jab at Top Gun: Maverick star Tom Cruise.
“Everybody loved Top Gun. Everybody,” offered Kimmel. “Tom Cruise with his shirt off in that beach-volleyball scene? L. Ron Hubba-Hubba.”
Sadly, Matt Damon did not rush the stage to mock-slap Kimmel. Instead, the host offered the following PSA, addressing Will Smith slapping Chris Rock: “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.” An extended bit shouting-out people in the audience as Kimmel’s was amusing, thanks in no small part to the wonderful Andrew Garfield.
With that, performers from RRR danced Kimmel off the stage and the show was on its way.