Was Jimmy Kimmel Really the Best Host Pick for the 2023 Oscars?

Story posted November 15, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio

It’s impossible to be angry with ABC and the Academy Awards for bringing back two-time host Jimmy Kimmel to take on the role for the 2023 Oscars.

Between last year's controversy and the poorly received hosting trio of Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, it makes sense that the ceremony would want to go with the safe bet, which is Kimmel.

But even with the Oscar ratings up 60% from the previous year, the 2022 Academy Awards were still the second-lowest viewed ceremony that the Nielson ratings have tracked.

It’s become clear that award shows are no longer the cultural viewing experience they once were.

Between the academy’s controversies, the pretentiousness of the ceremony, less of a general interest in awards or the looming demise of live/broadcast TV, award shows don’t hold the same importance in culture as they once did.

So considering ABC and the Oscars want to continue last year's trend of increasing viewership, the choice of the host was definitely the most important.

While there is a level of class and prestige the awards want to maintain, a captivating host could draw in viewers who wouldn’t have watched the ceremony on its own.

That’s why picking Kimmel is such a head-scratcher.

He isn’t widely beloved, he doesn’t appeal to younger age demographics and his job as a late-night talk show host is another medium that seems to be losing momentum in the digital age.

Even as a late-night host, he isn’t respected in the way Stephen Colbert or Conan O’Brien are and doesn’t have the same viral ability as Jimmy Fallon or James Corden.

The Oscars are likely wary of any controversy due to last year, and Kimmel was likely picked because he’s a safe bet.

He’s hosted before and delivers monologues on the regular. Considering the Oscars air on ABC, the network “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” airs on it’s not hard to figure out why he was picked.

But plenty of safer, more exciting, funnier choices would’ve created much more interest in the awards.

Of course, there’s the chance that certain celebrities were asked to host and turned the opportunity down, but the choice of Kimmel is almost mind-boggling when considering other options.

How hasn’t Gen-Z sweetheart John Mulaney been tapped to host any significant award shows?

Mulaney is beloved by the younger generations and is widely believed to be one of the best stand-ups of all time.

What about having Mulaney team up with frequent collaborator Nick Kroll? The two hosted the Independent Film Spirit Awards together twice, flawlessly and hilariously.

With Kroll's role in the most talked about movie of the year, “Don’t Worry Darling,” the two would have continued their brilliantly witty partnership as Oscar hosts.

Andy Samberg has hosted multiple award shows and is on the record saying he really enjoys doing them, yet he hasn’t hosted the Oscars?

Samberg is another widely beloved comedian who still manages to appeal to younger generations since creating the first viral video in 2005 with "Lazy Sunday.”

Mulaney and Samberg are longtime friends and the two even starred in Disney's “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” together, which came out this year. Pairing them together would’ve offered another much more enticing host than Kimmel.

Or, to capitalize on current trends, why not pair Jon Hamm and Miles Teller as hosts?

“Top Gun: Maverick” was the biggest movie of the year, and while its star Tom Cruise may get a nomination for best actor, having Hamm and Teller host would be the perfect way to celebrate and maximize the film's success.

Teller was a great host on “Saturday Night Live” in an episode where Hamm made a cameo where he reminded everyone he hosted two great episodes during what now seems like a golden era of the show.

The Oscars need a reason that people would spend their Sunday night watching a bunch of already rich and famous people possibly become richer and more famous.

The list could go on and on of well-liked funny celebrities, Keke Palmer, Aubrey Plaza, Keegan Michael Key, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Cecily Strong and more.

Even with some of these beloved potential hosts taking over, a controversial host could’ve offered a spike in viewership while still putting together a solid show.

Pete Davidson might always be in a headline for something other than his comedy, but the former “SNL” cast member is consistent in his stand-up.

His carefree attitude bears a similarity to fan-favorite Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, the perfect host to make fun of the celebrities having such a lavish night, something audiences at home tend to gravitate towards.

Davidson could’ve even been paired with Timothee Chalamet, his good friend, respected actor and one of the only young movie stars.

This pairing would tone down many Davidsons' blunt humor and be further aided by Chalamet’s huge fanbase.

The universally beloved pairing of Dwanye Johnson and Kevin Hart could’ve been another controversial pick considering Heart’s appointment and then removal of the Oscar host in 2018.

But Heart and Johnson are still hilarious together, especially when being themselves, and the controversy would, again, aid viewership.

It isn’t that Kimmel isn’t going to do a sufficient job or he’s a problematic celebrity; it’s just he’s maybe the most boring pick the Academy and ABC could’ve chosen to take on the job.

Kimmel is oversaturated in the media, has hosted in recent memory and doesn’t bring anything that is appealing to the ceremony that may make people who wouldn’t typically tune in do so.

The Academy Awards will likely see a dip in ratings again for this year's Oscars, but that ultimately may be just the natural trend of award shows going forward.

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.