Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t the first choice (or even the 11th) to host the 2023 Oscars. But now that he’s secured the gig, his first promo for the awards ceremony has been unveiled. The three-time emcee shared the promotional spot, which spoofs best picture nominee Top Gun: Maverick, during Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday.
He’s joined by Maverick stars Jon Hamm and Charles Parnell, who pose as their characters opposite Kimmel in a Tom Cruise-esque flight suit. “I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting to be asked to host again,” the late-night host says. Hamm quips, “We asked a lot of people before you,” saying that all of them passed—including Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Chevy Chase, and a “child dressed as a pirate.”
Parnell adds, “ABC has tasked us with finding a host who is unflappable and unslappable.” Kimmel replies, “That’s good because I can’t get slapped—I cry a lot.”
That joke references Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap of Rock, which Kimmel has already said will have to have to be addressed when the 95th Academy Awards air on ABC. “It’s got to come up in some way,” he told Extra in November. “You know, I don’t want to really make light of it necessarily, because to comedians [it wasn’t light]. You know, comedians are mad about it…It’s one of those things that for a group of people that find everything funny, it’s, like, not funny, you know? But of course, you have to [address it]. Just like when they read the wrong winner one year when I hosted the Oscars, we had to make mention of that the next year.”
During the 2023 Oscar nominees luncheon on Monday, Academy president Janet Yang addressed the slap as well. She told attendees that the organization’s response to the incident was “inadequate” and that they intend to “act swiftly, compassionately and decisively” if similar events (somehow) repeat themselves.
Kimmel plans to keep the rest of the proceedings by-the-book, he insisted in the promo. “I’ll lead a standing ovation for someone old, and if I make it out, there’s only four or five hours left until we give best picture to, hopefully, the right movie,” Kimmel joked. That, too, was a reference to a previous ceremony: his first time as Oscars host in 2017, the year that La La Land was mistakenly declared the best-picture winner over Moonlight. Nine-time host Oscars Billy Crystal shows up at the end of the promo to wish Kimmel good luck, and explain that he couldn’t host this year’s ceremony because he has “a dentist appointment…on Sunday night.”
The 2023 Oscars air on Sunday, March 12.
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