In a yawn-inducing, synergistic move from ABC, it was announced today that Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting the Oscars for the third time. You might remember the first time he hosted in 2017, not because he left an indelible mark on the proceedings, but because it was the Moonlight year. You probably don’t remember the second time he hosted (the next year), but it was the ceremony where Frances McDormand said “inclusion rider.”
Kimmel is a perfectly fine host. He tells good jokes, everyone seems to like him, he’s very capable of toeing the line between haha-funny and mean-funny. But it’s hard not to imagine that after begging Chris Rock to host the ceremony the guys in the boardroom just went to the guy already contracted by the Disney/ABC/Hulu/Marvel megacorporation.
Choosing Kimmel to host is, more than anything, a sign that the Oscars still don’t know what their actual problem is. They picked the guy who everyone knows because they want everyone to tune in. But last year, when a man was literally assaulted by one of the most famous actors in the world, they could only get 16 million people to watch. The days of more than 50 million people turning on the Oscars to watch Titanic take home Best Picture are long gone, so the producers might as well have fun with it while it’s still around.
A good host, in theory, should have a couple things going for them. They should be a recognizable name, they should be funny and charismatic, and they should probably enjoy the medium being celebrated. Kimmel checks two of those boxes, but has trouble with the last one. Remember when he went on a tirade about how Spider-Man: No Way Home should have been nominated for Best Picture? I bet he just loved CODA, too.
So who does that leave us with? Who would have been a better choice? A charming cinephile that everyone recognizes and respects? Roger Ebert is dead and I don’t know that Quentin Tarantino is “charming.” There is, however, an obvious answer: Martin Scorcese.
Hear me out. Watch (or re-watch) him finally win Best Director back in 2007:
C’mon. That guy’s Mr. Oscar! Everyone loves him, he loves movies probably more than anyone else alive right now, and he’s got a couple jokes in him. A Scorsese Oscars would mean no stupid bits, no musical numbers, and a guarantee that anyone who sort of likes movies would tune in for at least 20 minutes. It’s a crazy choice, but this show needs crazy choices right now. The Oscars are on life support and the DNR has already been signed, why not live a little before the plug gets pulled?