Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Academy Awards for a second consecutive year on Sunday night, using the opportunity to criticize Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s previous ambivalence towards diversity both in front of and behind the camera.
The comedian also heaped praise on the Me Too, Time’s Up and Never Again movements that arose in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations in Hollywood.
At first, though, Kimmel made reference to the Best Picture debacle from last year, which saw “La La Land” declared the winner instead of the rightful victor “Moonlight.” “This year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away,” Kimmel joked.
But Kimmel soon took aim at those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood over the last few months, in particular Harvey Weinstein, who was expelled from the Academy after the slew of allegations that were made against him.
Rather than focusing on the past, though, Kimmel declared that it was up to those in attendance and the rest of the movie industry to pave the way forward. “We can't let bad behavior slide anymore. The world is watching us, we need to set an example.”
Kimmel made sure to point out that Hollywood still has a long way to go to in this battle, making reference to Mark Wahlberg’s controversial huge payment for the “All The Money In The World” reshoots. The actor was paid $1.5 million, while Michelle Williams just received a per diem for the same work.
But Kimmel also remembered to bring the funny, unleashing a series of barbs that were still mostly aimed at the patriarchy that is now rightfully being challenged.
Regarding “Shape Of Water”, Kimmel joked, “Guillermo Del Toro made a beautiful movie. And thanks to him we will always remember this as the year that men screwed up so badly women started dating fish,” before then pointing out how obviously wrong it was that Mel Gibson starred in a film called “What Women Want.”
Kimmel also praised two of the most successful superhero releases of the last year, using the critical and financial triumphs of “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther” to point out that it has taken far too long for them to be brought to life.
“I remember a time when Hollywood didn’t believe a minority or woman lead character could carry a movie. It was March of last year.”
Kimmel’s monologue highlighted Hollywood’s troubling past while teasing the way forward, but most importantly it was a powerful reminder that the fight for equality is well and truly in force and is not going away.