With every year comes another set of important questions. For the Oscars, it's largely a mix of who will win and who will be nominated. While that's all important, the awards ceremony is its own big event worthy of discussion. And so, the question comes once again: Who will host The Oscars? After months of speculation, the answer has finally arrived, and it's not a terrible choice. In fact, it's actually pretty good. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mr. Jimmy Kimmel.
If you're an Oscars die hard, Kimmel is probably a name that you inadvertently recognize. He may not be an overwhelming presence, but he has become part of the post-ceremony tradition. With his venue for Jimmy Kimmel Live! being across the street from the Dolby Theater where the past dozen or so Academy Awards have been held, he has done an excellent job of wrangling together celebrities to participate in interviews, skits, and highly produced parodies of movie culture. He's even appeared on the red carpet to shamelessly promote the event. If you like celebrities letting loose after their big night, then you're more than familiar with his post-ceremony work.
With all of this said, the rumor has long been that Kimmel would host. It makes sense, especially with his acclaimed work while doing the recent Emmys ceremony. He knows how to read an audience and his ability to be participatory with a crowd makes him an excellent choice, especially in the vein of peak Billy Crystal. Time and again, he seems to know how to control the flow of a show. He may even be able to bring the post-ceremony magic to the actual show by making skits and videos that are suitable to the event.
Of course, the past few Oscar hosts have been a mixed bags critically. There were the considered duds like Anne Hathaway and James Franco, Billy Crystal, Seth MacFarlane, Ellen Degeneres, and last year's controversial Chris Rock (even Neil Patrick Harris was arguably hit and miss). While I liked Rock and felt that he was one of the best in recent years, I acknowledge that his overwhelming focus on race may have been tiresome for others. With that said, the best host is one who doesn't overshadow the show itself. Kimmel's work on the Emmys more than bodes confidence for this logic.
There is also another achievement from this past year worth noting. For the first time in history, all major awards shows were hosted by late night talk show hosts. Kimmel has hosted the Emmys and soon the Oscars. Jimmy Fallon will host the Golden Globes. James Corden has hosted the Tonys and will host the Grammys. Considering that late night talk shows have been reduced to viral video content, it's pretty impressive to see the modern generation of hosts getting a respectable amount of work. Of course, one can only hope that Fallon does a better job with the Golden Globes than Ricky Gervais did this past year with a deplorable, excruciating exhibit of narcissism and vulgarity that is making me contemplate not watching the ceremony ever again. Fallon may be able to save the show.
So, what do you think of Kimmel? While I don't necessarily love his work, I do admit that his post-ceremony coverage is a mainstay of my Oscar Sunday ritual. He is continually engaging and often funny. I think overall he is a very strong late night talk show host because he knows how to deal with the moment. His interviews are usually lively and he knows how to set up a bit. Hopefully he will bring that energy to The Oscars like he did for The Emmys. One can only hope that he succeeds where Harris failed.
Then again, only time will tell, and that time will be February 26. Check your local listings for showtimes.