With nearly two months to go until the Academy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel is in no hurry to start writing his material, even when it comes to the industry’s ongoing discussion about sexual misconduct and the women who are leading the charge to create change, which dominated the conversation at Sunday night’s Golden Globes.
“I do thank [Seth Meyers] for being that litmus test,” Kimmel told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, referencing the Golden Globes host. “As far as how I will handle it, the problem is it’s two months from now. So it’s almost like getting into a hot tub or something; you can’t really know what the temperature is until you get there.”
He added after the panel: “I couldn’t tell you that I have one joke in mind that I know I’ll do.”
Whether sexual harassment will continue to be top of mind remains to be seen, said Kimmel. But he thinks the moment had a noticeable impact on the red carpet.
“I thought the red carpet was really interesting because people were talking about something for once, and I think that was refreshing,” he said. “And at the very least, it was great to see people discussing something of significance. I think, ultimately, how can you argue that any of this is anything but good?”
When it was suggested by one reporter that it was perhaps safe to start writing some jokes about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Kimmel disagreed.
“You can but you just don’t know. Who’s to say Harvey Weinstein is going to be alive in two months?” he said, to a smattering of uncomfortable laughter from reporters, one of whom jokingly suggested he not use that punchline on Oscar night.
“It wasn’t a joke,” Kimmel responded.
On ‘President Winfrey’
While the bulk of Seth Meyers’ monologue material focused on Hollywood’s reckoning with gender inequality issues, a few opening jokes touched on Washington politics.
Kimmel agreed with the approach.
“I think he did the right thing,” he told reporters after the panel. “You can’t force things in and what people were talking about [Sunday] night is what he commented on, and I think that’s always the way to go.”
In the aftermath of the Globes ceremony, much of the conversation has
revolved around Oprah Winfrey, who gave an electrifying speech while accepting lifetime achievement award that has launched rumours of a possible presidential run in 2020.
Sources close to the media mogul told CNN Winfrey is “actively thinking” about the possibility.
While Kimmel insists he has no plans on “ever” running for office, the talk of Winfrey pursuing politics was “interesting.”
“Given the choice between Oprah and our current president, you know, I’m on the bus with Oprah travelling the country, encouraging people to sign up and vote,” he said, joking that everyone should keep in mind “we would have to call her President Winfrey.”
“We’d really have to start using the word ‘Winfrey’ and I don’t know if we’re prepared for that as a country,” he joked.
Kimmel may not be considering a bid for office, but he hasn’t shied away from politics on his late-night show this year.
His passionate pleas on gun violence and health care drew widespread attention this year, and he was credited by some for helping kill the GOP’s health care bill.
Kimmel said he has no intention of using the Oscars as a platform for that discussion, even if he plans to continue advocating for healthcare personally and on his show as needed.
“Ultimately, you have to remember why you’re there,” he said.
This will be Kimmel’s second time hosting the Oscars. His performance last year was highly praised, especially his handling of the now-famous best picture snafu, during which “La La Land” was accidentally announced as the winner instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”
Oscar nominations will be announced January 23.
The Academy Awards will be held March 4 and air on ABC.