Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel showed when he hosted the Emmys in 2012 and 2016 that he's not afraid to take shots from hallowed stages, and his opening monologue at the 89th Annual Academy Awards was no exception. He cracked jokes about Hollywood's self-love as well as the other big presence in the room: President Donald Trump.
Kimmel, who was hosting his second major awards show in less than six months, said coming in that the challenge as this year's Oscars host was to figure out the right amount of political content. "There definitely is a point at which that becomes too much," he told the New York Times. "There's also a point at which it becomes too little."
His opening monologue was about 70/30.
His sharpest joke came early, when he said the country is divided right now, and that people having been telling him that he needs to use his opening monologue to bring people together.
"I can't do that," he said. "There's only one Braveheart in this room and he's not gonna unite us either."
The camera then cut to Hacksaw Ridge director Mel Gibson, a vocal Hollywood conservative who has returned to prominence this year after a decade out of the spotlight due to anti-Semitic and sexist comments. Gibson smiled and gave an a-ok.
He encouraged the millions of Americans watching to reach out to someone they disagree with "and have a positive, considerate conversation, not as liberals or conservatives, but as Americans."
"And in the spirit of healing and bringing people together, I'd like to bury the hatchet with someone I've had issues," to building laughs, as everyone knew what was coming: Jimmy Kimmel was about to address his hilarious decade-plus long fake feud with Matt Damon.
He zinged Damon for letting Casey Affleck get all the acclaim for Manchester By the Sea while he starred in "a Chinese ponytail movie instead." He noted that Damon's movie The Great Wall lost $80 million.
Kimmel then thanked President Trump — "Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?"
He shouted out La La Land's 14 nominations, "one for every year Damien [Chazelle] has been alive" (if Chazelle wins Best Director, he'll be the youngest winner in that category in Oscars history).
The last quarter of the monologue was a tongue-in-cheek takedown of Meryl Streep, who invoked the ire of Trump after giving a speech critical of the president at the Golden Globes. Kimmel honored Streep's "mediocre" and "underwhelming" career as she tried to hide behind her husband Don Gummer.
"Meryl Streep has phoned it in for more than 50 films over the course of her lackluster career," he said.
As she got "a totally undeserved round of applause," Kimmel shouted out, "the highly overrated Meryl Streep, everyone," a reference to Trump's dismissal of the 20-time Oscar nominee as "over-rated."
"Nice dress, by the way," he added. "Is that an Ivanka?"
He ended the monologue by reminding everyone how special it is that they get to be there.
"Some of you will get to come up here on this stage and give a speech that the President of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5am bowel movement tomorrow," he said.
What did you think of Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue?