The Academy Awards has undergone quite a few structural changes in recent years. In 2019, after Kevin Hart backed out of the role, the ceremony went on without a host for the first time in 30 years. The show remained host-less for the next two years, bringing its dry run to an end in 2022 with a trio of hosts that featured Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall, and Amy Schumer helming a more than eventful night. But for 2023, the Oscars are going back to the basics, tapping Jimmy Kimmel to host the ceremony for the third time.
“Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honor or a trap,” Kimmel said in a statement. “Either way, I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.”
The late-night host previously helmed the ceremony in 2017 and 2018. He joins Jerry Lewis, Steve Martin, Conrad Nagel, and David Niven as the only people to have hosted three times — though that entire crew has been outpaced by four-timers Whoopi Goldberg and Jack Lemmon, Johnny Carson, who hosted five times, Billy Crystal who hosted nine times, and Bob Hope who leads the pack with 11 evenings spent as the Oscars emcee.
“We’re super thrilled to have Jimmy score his hat trick on this global stage,” Academy Awards executive producers and showrunners Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner said in a joint statement. “We know he will be funny and ready for anything.”
Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy president Janet Yang added: “Jimmy is the perfect host to help us recognize the incredible artists and films of our 95th Oscars. His love of movies, live TV expertise, and ability to connect with our global audiences will create an unforgettable experience for our millions of viewers worldwide.”
One thing Kimmel has spent a lot of time preparing for, apparently, is how he would react in the off-chance that he found himself in the midst of his own SlapGate. During a recent interview with Howard Stern, the comedian laid out his imaginary game plan, saying: “Oh, I would have went right out there. I wouldn’t have even waited for somebody to say something. would have went right out on stage because somebody needed to go out there at that time. And I think that was one of the drawbacks to having three hosts is it wasn’t clear who should go out there.”
He likened the hypothetical to his experience handling the infamous 2017 Moonlight vs La La Land Oscars mixup. “Nobody knew what was supposed to happen,” he added. “No one told me to go out on stage. I said, ‘I guess I better go up because I’m the only one with a mic on.”