In recent years, the Academy Awards have gone with three hosts new to the job. They’ve gone with zero hosts. But in 2023, just one will be on hand, and it’s a veteran: Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night star, who has emceed the ceremony twice before, will be the sole host of the 95th Oscars when they air March 12 on ABC, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday.
“Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honor or a trap,” Kimmel said in a statement. “Either way, I am grateful to the academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.”
The host, who can be seen late nights on ABC in “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” held the Oscars job in 2017 and again in 2018. The next year, Kevin Hart was set to take the stage, but when tweets and jokes by him considered homophobic resurfaced, he refused to apologize and bowed out instead. Rather than draft a replacement, the academy asked a variety of stars to rotate in throughout the evening in the 2019 show, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.
For the 2023 show, the executive producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner have been tasked with restoring luster to an event tarnished by low ratings and the Will Smith slap heard ’round the world. They will be trying to win over an audience that has grown more interested in streaming fare and seems less inclined to go to movie theaters regularly, if seesawing box office numbers are any indication.
“With Kimmel, Weiss and Kirshner’s fresh perspective and masterful guidance, the Oscars will celebrate its rich 95-year history, the collaborative nature of moviemaking, and our diverse, dynamic and deeply creative community of filmmakers,” the academy’s chief executive, Bill Kramer, and president, Janet Yang, said in a statement.
Kramer recently said next year’s show would not address, even in jokes, the surreal moment earlier this year when Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage. But that determination to take the high road may be put to the test if “Emancipation,” the slavery drama from Apple that stars Smith, proves to be a contender. He was barred from academy events, including the ceremony, for 10 years. But the film has been the subject of awards chatter, and while Smith would not be allowed to attend, any nominations could make for an awkward evening.
The host announcement comes relatively early in the awards season calendar for a change. For the 2022 Oscars, the academy unveiled its trio of hosts — Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall — less than two months before it was held in March.
That show drew 16.6 million viewers, the second-least-watched Oscars on record, but an improvement over the year before, when fewer than 10 million tuned in.