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Jimmy Kimmel mocks Will Smith and Chris Rock slap row in opening monologue at the Oscars

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The 55-year-old talk show host addressed the scandal, urging the star-studded crowd to listen to the ‘strict policies’ that had been put in place.

Show host Jimmy Kimmel addresses attendees during the Oscars show at the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 12, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

JIMMY Kimmel poked fun at the Academy’s handling of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last year’s Oscars, during his opening monologue at Sunday’s ceremony.

The 55-year-old talk show host addressed the scandal, which saw the “King Richard” star scoop the Best Actor accolade shortly after striking the comic over a joke he made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, during his opening monologue at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, urging the star-studded crowd to listen to the “strict policies” that had been put in place.

He quipped: “We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place.

“If anyone in this theatre commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and be permitted to give an 18-minute long speech.

“Seriously, the Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year – nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”

He also joked there was a high possibility of such an event happening again.

He quipped: “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”

Show host Jimmy Kimmel backstage during the Oscars show at the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 12, 2023. Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S./Handout via REUTERS

But Kimmel’s listed a string of tough-guy characters, among them Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, who could protect him “if you want to come up here and get jiggy with it”.

He added: “We have no time for shenanigans. This is a celebration of everyone here.”

The presenter also poked fun at actor Tom Cruise and director James Cameron for failing to attend the ceremony.

He said: “Tom Cruise and James Cameron didn’t show up. The two guys who insisted we go to the theatre didn’t go to the theatre… James Cameron is not here. You know a show is too long when even James Cameron can’t sit through it… Some of the critics are saying Jim Cameron isn’t here because he didn’t get a best director nomination.

“And while I find that very hard to believe about a man of such deep humility, he does have a point. I mean, how does the Academy not nominate the guy who directed ‘Avatar’? What did they think he is, a woman?”

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