At the ceremony Sunday, Kimmel jumped straight into material about last year’s infamous best picture flub.
“I do want to mention, this year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away,” said Kimmel. “Give us a minute.”
He also poked fun at accounting firm PwC, which caused the error last year. Kimmel says he turned down a skit on the accountants last year and the mistaken reading of La La Land was a result of the accountants trying to do comedy.
The late-night host also referenced the sexual harassment scandal that has roiled Hollywood, mentioning disgraced film mogul Weinstein by name and saying he deserved to be expelled from the academy most of all.
“The Academy, as you know, took lengths to expel Harvey Weinstein from their ranks,” he said. “What happened with Harvey and what’s happening all over is long overdue … if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace.
“If we can do that, women will only have to deal with that every other place they go,” he continued.
He also joked the Oscar statuette is the ideal embodiment of the moment, because it lacked genitalia.
He announced that Sunday’s ceremony marked the Academy Awards’ 90th anniversary. “Oscar is 89 years old this year, which probably means he’s at home watching Fox News,” Kimmel joked.
“Oscar is a very respected man in Hollywood, just look at him, he keeps his hands where he can see them, no penis.”
Kimmel joked about the statue, “He is literally a statute of limitations.”
He also gave a shout-out to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, saying the audience could expect to hear more about them later in the show.
Kimmel called the show “a night for positivity” but he also spoke straightforwardly about the industry’s poor record for female directors and equal pay.
“I remember the time when studio execs didn’t believe that a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie,” Kimmel said. “And I remember that time because it was March of last year.”
He gave a special shout-out to Greta Gerwig, the first woman nominated for Best Director in eight years
He went on to address the pay disparity story from All the Money in the World reshoots, after Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were paid disparate amounts but they were represented by the same agency, CAA. “This story really shook me because if we can’t trust agents, who can we trust?” Kimmel joked.
Williams was paid US$80 a day for the reshoots whereas Wahlberg received US$1.5 million. Wahlberg has since donated all US$1.5 million to the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
“We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore,” said Kimmel. “The world is watching us.”
Some viewers thought the host’s monologue fell flat.
Others praised Kimmel for his opening monologue.
Watch part of Kimmel’s opening monologue in the video above.
—With files from the Associated Press