Just as we’re entering peak Awards season, the announcement of who will be the host of the most “important” movie awards – the Academy Awards – has come in, hot off the presses. Jimmy Kimmel will be taking the reins of the extended broadcast this year, following in the footsteps of recent hosts ranging from Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock to Neil Patrick Harris and the insufferable duo of James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Last year, he took hosting duties at the Emmy Awards and clearly he must have impressed someone who makes the decisions in these sort of situations.
Kimmel has the right disposition for the gig, to be sure, and when he’s left to his own devices, the late-night personality can be very funny. He doesn’t have the political edge that Rock gave last year’s ceremony, but the election and its aftermath have made him bolder and more open about his politics in his role as a talk show host. Unlike, say, Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers, however, Kimmel doesn’t dedicate entire recurring segments to debasing politicians or corporations who are clearly corrupt and not-so-secretively manipulative. This fact actually might be the very reason that Kimmel got the gig: he’s borderline safe, but not so much that you’d think of him as a softball choice for the esteemed role.
Still, Kimmel definitely has the potential to get rowdy, and with a platform like the Academy Awards – this will be the 89th ceremony – he’ll certainly have the space and backing to do whatever he deems necessary to keep the show up. It’s also worth noting that when it comes to the Oscars, the best moments are often the random moments where the celebrities get goofy with one another. I’m talking less DeGeneres’ nauseating selfie moment than Steve Martin dashing to make sure a snacking Danny DeVito has some dip. That’s stuff that Kimmel is exemplary and exceptionally creative at, and with Matt Damon almost certainly in attendance, I imagine there will be a few moments that transcend the placid nonsense that are the Oscars.