Every film fanatic has his/her favorite part of the Academy Awards ceremony. For some, it’s the presentation of the four acting trophies. For others, it’s the flashy and fearless fashion. And for Meryl Streep…well, it’s always the honor of just being nominated. For me, the most magical part of the show has always been the opening monologue. The evening’s host enters the stage with a devilish grin. The audience gives him/her an an enthusiastic round of applause. And the television viewers anxiously await to see what the emcee has in store.
The ringmaster opens with a clever quip, and proceeds to recognize and then ridicule the nominated stars in a merry (but never malicious) manner. The nervous nominees start to laugh, the titanic tension begins to fade, and the show is ready to roll. Unfortunately, the timeless tradition seems to be slowly dying, with fewer and fewer Oscar hosts able to offer an outstanding opening. We’ve gone from the good (Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal) to the bad (David Letterman, Seth MacFarlane) to the ugly (James Franco, Neil Patrick Harris.)
Well, it’s time to take action. The jolly Jimmy Kimmel is giving the gig his first shot later this month. We know that he can do it. We want him to do it. And we want to help him do it.
So Jimmy, we’ve done you the favor of writing your opening monologue for you. Here are 25 zesty zingers that make Mr. Kimmel a killer Oscar host. We beg you not to refuse this Gold Derby gift. Trust us – by delivering the dialogue below, you can truly make the Academy Awards great again.
1. Good evening and welcome to the 89th annual Academy Awards. Or as it’s known this year, “50 Shades Darker.”
2. Don’t worry – I know that everyone wants to forget about last year’s controversy. Especially Chris Rock. Chris wasn’t able to host this year. He’s still on the run from Jada Pinkett Smith.
3. So I’ll be your emcee for the evening. I’m Jimmy Kimmel. The real-life “Captain Fantastic.” Or “Fantastic Beast.” Depends on who you talk to.
4. Tonight we honor the best films of 2016. And what a year it was. From “Deadpool” and “Money Monster,” to “Rogue One” and “Why Him?” But enough about the presidential election.
5. This is the first Academy Awards since the new administration took over. And Hollywood has definitely felt the impact. A lot of you thought the “Hell or High Water” Oscar campaign was an effort to keep celebrities from moving to Canada. Others thought the Canadian film entry, “It’s Only the End of the World,” was a documentary about American politics. But in the end, the Academy said yes to “Hell” and no to Canada. Go figure.
6. Like “Hell,” there are eight other films up for Best Picture of the year. Among them – “Hacksaw Ridge.” Nominated for six awards, including Best Director for Mel Gibson. Can I talk about myself for a second? I’m a comedian. Hosting the Oscars for the first time. And Mel Gibson is nominated. Where do I even begin? I guess I should start with, “I’d like to thank the Academy.”
7. “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the story of a soldier, played by Best Actor nominee Andrew Garfield, who goes to war without carrying a single weapon. Normally when you have Mel Gibson directing a conscientious objector, it’s someone who refuses to watch “Apocalypto.”
8. Don’t worry, Mel. I won’t devote my entire opening monologue to torturing you. I’ll spread it out over a couple of hours. Kind of like “The Passion of the Christ.”
9. Nominated for eight Academy Awards is the year’s most original love story – “Moonlight.” Also known as “Not So Straight Outta Miami-Dade.”
10. Another of the year’s most acclaimed motion pictures was “Manchester by the Sea.” Best Actor nominee Casey Affleck plays a man who inflicts unimaginable pain on members of his own family. That’s right. He had to tell Ben about the box office grosses for “Live by Night.”
11. Casey’s biggest competition for the award is probably Denzel Washington, going for his third Oscar for “Fences.” It looked like Casey was ahead until the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which Denzel now refers to as “The Equalizer.”
12. If Denzel wins, he’ll become the first person since Roberto Benigni to direct himself to an Oscar. Benigni did it for “Life Is Beautiful.” Denzel might do it for “life is garbage.”
13. Of course, the big story tonight has got to be “La La Land” – nominated for a record-tying 14 Academy Awards. A modern-day musical set right here in Los Angeles. The working title was “West Side Freeway Story.”
14. Speaking of “La La Land,” there’s Best Actor nominee Ryan Gosling. One half of the year’s most charming, most dazzling, most squabbling onscreen duo. But Russell Crowe couldn’t be here tonight. Russell was actually up for a part in “La La Land.” Unfortunately, he sent a “Les Miserables” DVD as his audition tape.
15. Someone who did get a part in “La La Land” is the wonderful Emma Stone. She plays an actress who questions her own talent, feels overwhelmed by the competition, and wants to just give up and go home. In other words, what happens to anyone who gets nominated alongside Meryl Streep.
16. Meryl Streep. Hollywood’s most overrated actress. Here tonight with her record 20th acting nomination. In “Florence Foster Jenkins,” she portrays a woman described as the world’s worst singer. I’m not sure how to say this, but – congratulations, Meryl. You were really, really bad.
17. Also competing for Best Actress is Natalie Portman. Six years ago, she was pregnant with her first child and won the Oscar for “Black Swan.” Now, she’s pregnant with her second child and could win the Oscar for “Jackie.” Natalie – wouldn’t it be easier to just do Q&A’s like everyone else?
18. First-time nominee Dev Patel is here, recognized for his work in the terrific film “Lion.” A young boy in India gets separated from his family. His mother left with so many questions. Is he dead? Is he alive? And how long before a third “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?”
19. “Hidden Figures” is nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer. The last time Octavia got this much attention for “hidden figures,” they were inside one of her pies in “The Help.”
20. As usual, there were some outstanding performances that were overlooked. Like Amy Adams in “Arrival.” Turns out that this was a really big mistake. Three thousand years from now, the Academy is going to need Amy’s help. Don’t think that she’ll forget about this. Or the time you made her sing “Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” all by herself.
21. We’re pleased to have a number of last year’s winners back with us tonight, like Leonardo DiCaprio – Best Actor for “The Revenant.” I can’t actually see him in the audience, but I can definitely smell the raw bison.
22. Also give a warm welcome to Best Actress Brie Larson, even though she compared attending the Oscars to being trapped in “Room.” It’s extremely stressful. You feel like you’ll be stuck here forever. And there’s a better-than-average chance that your host will get you pregnant.
23. Alicia Vikander, Best Supporting Actress for “The Danish Girl,” is back with us. She wasn’t able to bring Eddie Redmayne. The Academy couldn’t decide on which bathroom he should use.
24. Mark Rylance, Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies,” is also here. When asked by the Academy if he could return to present, he quietly responded “Would it help?”
25. Here’s to a night filled with surprises. We’ll start with the Best Supporting Actress award…which everyone knows is going to Viola Davis. Come on up, Viola. I’ve got the envelope, the Oscar, and the Kleenex.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.