In the opening monologue, Jimmy Kimmel addressed last year’s Oscar slap. He joked that if anyone commits a violent act, they will be “awarded an Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech,” nodding to Will Smith’s Academy Award for Best Actor in King Richard.
He introduced a “crisis team,” saying, “if anything unpredictable and violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year – nothing.”
Kimmel then said if anyone wasn’t happy with one of his jokes, he would have to go through a few people. The camera cut to several actors who reacted on the fly, including Michael B. Jordan, Michelle Yeoh, Pedro Pascal, Andrew Garfield, and more.
Academy’s CEO Bill Kramer confirmed the awards would have its first-ever crisis team readily available. “We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen,” Kramer stated to Time Magazine.
He added, “Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars.”
As for protecting the award show and its guests, Kramar put a plan into action. “These crisis plans—the communication teams and structures we have in place—allow us to say this is the group that we have to gather very quickly. This is how we all come together. This is the spokesperson. This will be the statement. And obviously depending on the specifics of the crisis,” he said.
“And let’s hope something doesn’t happen and we never have to use these, but we already have frameworks in place that we can modify.”
Later on in the broadcast, Kimmel made another slap reference as he was introducing Best Documentary Feature presenters Riz Ahmed and Questlove. Kimmel joked that he wanted it all to go down “without a hitch,” obviously alluding to Will Smith, who starred in the 2005 film Hitch. Of course, the infamous slap occurred at last year’s Oscars right before that same category was about to be presented by Chris Rock.
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host made yet another joke about the infamous slap after a commercial break. “I put food under your seats, I don’t know if you noticed it,” he said, checking on if everyone was OK at the halfway point. “This point in the show, kinda makes you miss the slapping a little. Right?”
At the end of the show, Kimmel thanked the crisis team and proceeded to do one more farewell to the Oscars slap. “Number of Oscars telecasts without incident,” read a board. He changed the counter from zero to one.