Will Kimmel have last laugh in hosting debut?
Jimmy Kimmel makes his debut as Oscars host tonight. This gig can be something of a poisoned chalice, with normally reliable names including Seth MacFarlane, and even David Letterman, falling foul of audiences and critics alike. Kimmel at least has form with this type of star- studded, backslapping event, having hosted the Emmys in 2012 and 2016.
As for what to expect, Kimmel has a distinct ace in his pocket. Many fans won’t be watching for his overall performance as much as how his “feud” with Matt Damon – who is in the running for an award as a producer of Best Picture nominee Manchester by the Sea – manifests itself during Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. The pair have had an ongoing faux feud since Kimmel cut Damon short on his chat show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in 2005.
The phrase “apologies to Matt Damon, we’ve run out of time” has become a meme, repeated daily on the show, and Damon gamely plays along with mock anger.
The actor got his own back at last year’s Emmy Awards, when host Kimmel lost out to John Oliver in the Best Variety Talk Series category.
“You lost and now you’ve got to stand out here for the rest of the night in front of everybody when you probably just want to go home, curl up and cry,” Damon said, before turning to the audience and asking: “Can we cheer Jimmy up? He’s a big loser.”
With La La Land the favourite to win Best Picture, on Sunday the show might be on the other foot.