With Kimmel As Host, Oscars Will Be A Slap-Free Zone

It does not seem likely that a movie star will rise from his seat at the Oscars on ABC this Sunday to slap a comedian across the face for the second consecutive year.

The view from here is that Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock at last year’s Oscars was a one-off, for the simple reason that, to the TV Blog’s knowledge, it had never happened before in any of the 93 Academy Awards ceremonies that preceded last year’s.

However, now that this particular cat is out of the bag, might it now become a part of the Oscars that some might even tune in for?

This would reduce the august Academy Awards to the level of a hockey game or NASCAR race, but there it is. 



To adapt a question that is sometimes applied humorously to NHL hockey, “What if they held a fight and the Oscars broke out?”

This year’s host of the “The 95th Oscars” is Jimmy Kimmel, who is taking up the job for the third time.

If he delivers a monologue of some sort at the opening of the show, it will likely be a lot softer than Chris Rock’s.

Rock is well-known for comedy that pushes the envelope, to say the least. It is his brand.

Kimmel, on the other hand, is a product of network television. Because of that, it is unlikely that he will raise the ire of any of the A-listers in the audience. Viewers might expect him to comment on last year’s slap heard ’round the world, however.

But since Will Smith was banned from the ceremonies for 10 years following last year’s incident, Kimmel has no need to concern himself with any onstage reprisals, at least not from Smith.

As for the show’s audience prospects, here is where the Oscars stand at the present time: Last year’s show drew an estimated total audience of 16.6 million, a substantial uptick from 2020’s tally of 10.4 million. In 2019, the show’s audience was 29.6 million.

The TV Blog will refrain from making any audience predictions for this Sunday’s Oscars since I have never been completely clear about what drives Oscar viewership -- the nominees, the host, the musical numbers?

Perhaps it has to do with the popularity or renown of the nominees, particularly the nominees for Best Picture.

This year, they range widely from “Top Gun: Maverick,” an over-the-top, mainstream Tom Cruise action movie, to “Tár,” a nearly three-hour movie about one of the world’s most charismatic orchestra conductors, played by Cate Blanchett.

Around here, “Tár” was the best-liked movie of the year. And then we saw “The Banshees of Inisherin” and all bets were off.

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