Jimmy Kimmel has kickstarted this year’s Oscars with an opening speech tackling Trump’s America alongside his well-documented ‘rivalry’ with Matt Damon.
The US talk show host was introduced to stage by Justin Timberlake who opened the ceremony with a performance of his Oscar-nominated song “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
While Kimmel’s speech failed to court with as much controversy as spectators were expecting, he didn’t waste time in bracing the subject of politics and the fraught time incurred on America by Trump’s travel ban.
“I want to say thank you to President Trump,” he began, adding: “I mean, remember last year when it seemed the Oscars were racist?” referencing last year’s ‘Oscars So White’ controversy.
Alluding to nominated films Hidden Figures and La La Land, Kimmel quipped: “Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s progress.”
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He continued: “The country is divided right now. I’ve been getting a lot of advice, it’s time to bring people together. There’s only one Braveheart in this room, and he’s not going to unite us either,” he said, singling out Mel Gibson, before adding: “You look great, Mel – I think the Scientology is really working.”
Elsewhere, Kimmel fell back on his long-running ‘rivalry’ with actor Matt Damon for laughs from the crowd (“When I first met Matt, I was the fat one”) while encouraging the audience to give Meryl Streep an applause for no good reason other than the fact she’s Meryl Streep.