Jimmy Kimmel's Oscars 2018 Opening Monologue Set the Stage for an Impassioned Night in Hollywood
After a brief black and white throwback intro, Jimmy Kimmel took the stage at the 90th Academy Awards for what should be an interesting night in Hollywood. This is a pivotal year for the Oscars after months defined by the #MeToo movement and the disgrace of some of the industry's biggest names. It's also the anniversary of the Academy's biggest screw up, when last year's Best Picture presenters read the wrong movie name ("This year when you hear your name called, don't get up right away. Just give us a minute. We don't want another 'thing,'" Kimmel warned.)
And Kimmel addressed all of it in a somewhat subdued opening monologue. Among introducing some of the most serious talking points of the night, he noted that Oscar is the most loved man in Hollywood, since he doesn't have a penis and all. He touched on Get Out: "None other than President Trump called Get Out the best first three-quarters of a movie." He addressed Call Me By Your Name: "We don't make films like Call Me By Your Name to make money. We make them to upset Mike Pence."
And, yes, he talked about Harvey Weinstein, pointing out that the Academy gave him the same punishment as a member who shared screeners. But his best joke had to have been about The Shape of Water, when he said this was "The year men screwed up so badly women started dating fish."
Most importantly, he encouraged everyone who went on stage to use that microphone as a platform to talk about equality or politics.
Read Kimmel's full opening monologue below:
Hi. Welcome. Welcome, beautiful people. Welcome to the Dolby theatre and greetings to our viewers all around the world. Thank you for watching. Thank you very having me. It is a great honor to be invited back for a second time. It's a great honor to be here among so many talented women and men.
Congratulations to all of you. We're at the Oscars. Some of you will be going home tonight with an Academy Award. What could be better than that? Nothing, right?
Oh. I do want to mention. This year, when you hear your name called, don't get up right away. Give us a minute. We don't want another thing. What happened last year was unfortunate, I've not told the story in public because I wanted to save it for tonight, but here's what happened. This is true. Last year, about a week before the show, the producers asked me if I wanted to do some comedy with the accountants, I said, no, I don't want to do that. So, the accountants went ahead and did comedy on their own. And I have to hand it to them, it was hilarious, but it won't happen again. This time, the chairman of Pricewaterhousecoopers said, and I quote, “Our singular focus will be on the show and delivering the correct envelopes,” which is—does make sense? Just out of curiosity, what was your focus the other 89 years?
I'm hopeful that things will go smoothly tonight. We can't ruin this one. This is a special year. This is a big one. These are the 90th Academy Awards. This is history happening right here. Our friend Oscar—Oscar is 90 years old tonight, which means he's probably at home right now watching Fox News. Of course—no, Oscar is here with us. After all the years, after all the awards given for achievements in show business, Oscar is still number one. No question about it. Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. And there's a very good reason why. Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word. And most importantly, no penis at all. He is literal little a statute of limitations. And that's the kind of men we need more of in this town.
Here's how clueless Hollywood is about women. We made a movie called What Women Want and it starred Mel Gibson. Kind of all you need to know. The Academy as you are no doubt aware took action last year to expel Harvey Weinstein from their ranks. There were a lot of great nominees, but Harvey deserved it the most. The Academy kicked him out and after they did, I was curious, so, I looked it up. You know the only other person to be expelled from the Academy, ever, was a character actor. He was kicked out for sharing screeners. He got the same punishment as Harvey Weinstein for giving his neighbor a copy of Seabiscuit on VHS.
But what happened with Harvey, what's happening all over was long overdue. We can't let bad behavior slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example. And the truth is, if we are successful here, if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go.
Over the course of this evening, I hope you will listen to many brave and outspoken supporters of movements like me too and time's up and never again, because what they're doing is important. Things are changing for the better, they're making sure of that. It is positive change. This is a night for positivity and our plan is to shine a light on a group of outstanding and inspiring films, each and every one of which got crushed by Black Panther this weekend. Which, that's—that's okay. The success of Black Panther is one of many positive stories this year. Especially for African-Americans and Bob Iger. Black Panther and Wonder Woman were massive hits. I remember a time when the major studios didn't believe a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie and the reason I remember that time was because it was March of last year.
But this year, we have a lot to celebrate. Ceilings have been shattered. We have our first ever female nominee for cinematography. Which is historic. So many of tonight's nominees are making history, and, in fact, if you are a nominee tonight who isn't making history, shame on you.
Greta Gerwig is the first woman to be nominated for director in eight years. And that's important. Only 11% of movies are directed by women. And that is nuts. We still have a very long way to go in that department, and a very long way to go when it comes to equal pay. Especially when you look at what happened with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams.
We all know the story. Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot his scenes while Michelle Williams for the reshoots got per diem. The chef was paid $80 a day for the same thing. And what made it especially unfair is that Mark and Michelle are represented by the same agency. And I have to admit, this story really surprised me. This one shook me, because if we can't trust agents, who can we trust?
To his credit, Mark Wahlberg announced he would be donating all $1.5 million to the time's up legal defense fund. That's right. So, I guess now the ball's in your court, Michelle. What are you going to do with that 80 bucks?
In the meantime, triple congratulations are in order for the kid from Comedy Central, Jordan Peele, who had a huge success with his movie, Get Out. Jordan is only the third person in 90 years to be nominated for directing, writing, and best picture for his debut film. And what a debut it was. None other than President Trump called Get Out the best first three-quarters of a movie this year.
Margot Robbie had a great year. She scored her first nomination for her portrayal of Tonya Harding in I, Tonya and was terrific. Whose kneecaps did Tonya Harding have to break to get this dream casting? Because, I mean, if they made a movie about my life, best case scenario, I'd be played by Jim Belushi.
Another young actor nominated for the first time is Timothee Chalamet, who looks very dashing tonight. Look at that tux. Are you having fun? This is a big deal. He's missing Paw Patrol to be here tonight. Don't worry, Ryder and his team of pups saved the day. He's the star of a small but powerful story Call Me By Your Name. Only two of the best picture movies made more than $100 million. That's not the point. We don't make films for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence. Right?
He's the youngest best actor nominee in almost 80 years, and on the other end of the abacus, we have our oldest acting nominee ever, the magnificent Christopher Plummer is 88 years old and still going strong. Maybe this is not the place, but I want to ask you, how does Lin-Manuel Miranda compare to the real Alexander Hamilton?
And once again, right here in the front row, maybe the greatest actor of all time, Meryl Streep is here with us. She earned her 21st Oscar nomination. Her film career started in 1977. The longest she ever went without being nominated was from 1992 to 1995. And that's only because those were the years she was in prison, and that, I think, is amazing.
The most nominated movie tonight, a film that's up for 13 Oscars is The Shape of Water, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, a wonderful man. Congratulations, I'm very happy for Guillermo. You made a beautiful movie, and thanks to Guillermo we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish.
Okay, before we start handing out the awards, some history, because we're going to do things a little bit differently. The first Oscar ceremony lasted, and this is true, 15 minutes. From beginning to end. People still complained. So, if you do win an Oscar tonight, we want you to give a speech, we want you to say whatever you feel needs to be said, speak from the heart, we want passion; you have an opportunity and a platform to remind millions of people about important things like equal rights and equal treatment, if you want to encourage others to join the amazing students at Parkland at their march on the 24th, do that. If you want to thank a favorite teacher, do that. Or maybe you just want to thank your parents, tell your kids to go to sleep. What you say is entirely up to you. Do whatever you want. But with that said, this is a really long show. So, here's what we're going to do: Not saying you shouldn't give a long speech, but whoever gives the shortest speech tonight will go home with a brand new jet ski!
Why waste precious time thanking your mom when you could be taking her for the ride of her life on a brand new jet ski? This is not a joke. I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch. The moment you are handed that Oscar, the clock will start ticking, so, get up here, grab it and go. And in the unlikely event of a tie, I need to say, the jet ski will be awarded to Christopher Plummer, so—let's get the show going.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.