Jimmy Kimmel slaps Will Smith in the face and makes an Irish joke in the opening monologue

Jimmy Kimmel opened the 95th Academy Awards by joking about fights that started on stage, referring to Will Smith beating Chris Rock at last year’s ceremony and poking fun at the nominated Irish talent.

The 55-year-old US comedian opened the ceremony with footage of him in a cockpit of a fighter jet flown by Top Gun: Maverick star Tom Cruise with the Hollywood actor urging Kimmel to exit before “jumping off” on stage.

Here’s what Kimmel joked about in his opening monologue:

Will Smith met presenter Chris Rock at last year’s Oscars (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Will Smith Slap Gate

He said: “We know this is a special night for you, we want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe and most of all we want me to feel safe. So we have a strict policy, if anyone commits an act of violence in this theater at any point during the show, you’re awarded the Oscar for Best Actor… and you get to give a 19-minute speech.

“No, but seriously, the academy has set up a crisis team. If something unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year, nothing. Maybe even hug the attacker.

“And if any of you guys get mad and decide to come up here and get Jiggy Wit It, it’s not going to be easy, (there are) a few of my friends you guys have to get through first.

“You have to beat the heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) before you come to me, you have to beat Michelle Yeoh before you come to me, you have to beat the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) before you get me, You have to take on Spider Man (Andrew Garfield), you have to take on the Fabelman (Steven Spielberg) and my right hand Guillermo, the other Guillermo not del Toro. I know he’s cute, but if you even wave at me, this cute little man will beat the Lydia Tar out of you.

95th Academy Awards - Arrivals

Steven Spielberg arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 12, 2023 (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“There will be no nonsense tonight, we have no time for shenanigans, this is a celebration for everyone here.”


Kimmel also referenced Smith Rock’s slap at last year’s ceremony, telling the audience: “It’s been a year for diversity and inclusion. We have nominees from all corners of Dublin. Five Irish actors have been nominated tonight which means the likelihood of another fight on stage is greatly increased.”


Kimmel also spoke about Hollywood stars Danielle Deadwyler and Viola Davis, who were left out of Oscar nominations at this year’s awards.

He said: “As we delve into the issue of diversity I would like to say especially to those of you watching at home that there are a number of excellent films and performances that have not been nominated tonight including Till and The Woman King, both are based on true stories with great performances by Danielle Deadwyler and Viola Davis that are well worth your time if you haven’t seen them.

95th Academy Awards - Show

Host Jimmy Kimmel, center, appears during a skit at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Top Gun: Maverick

Kimmel said: “The movie that saved the movies. Everyone loved Top Gun, everyone. Tom Cruise shirtless in this beach football scene, L Ron (Hubbard) hubba hubba. You know what I mean. You know, Tom and James Cameron (Avatar director) didn’t show up tonight, two guys who insisted we go to the theater didn’t come to the theater.

“So if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of Tom Cruise, he’s not here.”

Pointing to filmmaker Spielberg, Kimmel added, “Or maybe he’s here, maybe that’s Tom Cruise right there wearing a Mission Impossible mask. There is only one way to find out for sure.”


Kimmel also staged a joke about Best Actor nominee Austin Butler sitting in the crowd.

He said: “As a first-time contestant, he was as compelling as Elvis and still is.

“You are so talented, I know Elvis would have loved your performance, according to my online Reddit page he actually did.”

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