Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, two-time Oscar nominee and first guest Will Smith inadvertently offered up a perfect summary of the challenge facing each year’s Academy Awards host. By way of the trailer for his Dec. 16 film Collateral Beauty.
“Love; time; death,” Smith’s character Howard Inlet proselytizes. And that’s essentially how a disappointing Oscars telecast progresses, from the love of the room at opening, to the grinding weight of time, to the death of the master of ceremonies on stage. What Jimmy wants to aim for is “love; love; love.”
Yesterday was also the first day back in studio for the Kimmel crew following an extended two-week Thanksgiving break. The combination of staff having to re-adjust to the workday flow and absorb news that the boss had finally landed that big marquee assignment across the street melded for a surprisingly muted vibe. FishbowlNY was on-site for Monday night’s taping, watching from the green room, attending as well a post-show “Live Generously” event hosted by Crown Royal.
Beyond that, show writers and others who will actively help Jimmy with the 2017 Oscars assignment are suddenly facing holiday-season double duty.
The topic of Kimmel being announced Monday as Oscar host did not come up during the chat with Smith, a perennial front-of-house presence and a nominee in years proceedings were guided by Steve Martin and Jon Stewart. What’s more, 2009 Oscar host Hugh Jackman was initially attached to star in Collateral Beauty.
Looking at the big Oscars picture, the stage is now set for Kimmel to ease into a long and successful run as broadcast host, following in the footsteps of Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope. Just as long as he sidesteps on Feb. 26 love… time… death.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Unbearable Lightness of the Oscars