Oscars host Kimmel takes on Hollywood sexism

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel opened the ceremony on an unusually serious note -- albeit with a traditional dose of jokes. Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday took aim at sexism in Hollywood and disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as he opened the Oscars on an unusually serious note -- albeit with a traditional dose of jokes.

As Hollywood's A-listers assembled for their first Academy Awards since the Weinstein sexual abuse scandal rocked the entertainment world and sent shockwaves across other industries across America, Kimmel made no attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.

"We can't let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example," he said.

"And the truth is, if we are successful here if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go."

Kimmel said Weinstein's downfall following dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and assault "was long overdue," along with the demise of numerous other Tinseltown figures caught up in their own scandals.

The host highlighted the work of the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality, pointing out that only 11 percent of movies are made by women.

"We will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish," he joked, in a reference to the plot of Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water," which leads the night with 13 nominations.

Kimmel also quipped that the Oscar statuette was an apt figure for the era.

"Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word. And most importantly, no penis at all," he said.

"He is literally a statue of limitations."

- Making Pence mad -

Kimmel, whose late-night show is bitingly critical of President Donald Trump, also offered political commentary.

He pointed out that "Call Me By Your Name," a gay coming-of-age love story, was nominated for best picture but had made comparatively little money at the box office.

"We don't make films for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence, right?" Kimmel said of the Christian conservative vice president.

Kimmel highlighted a number of milestones at the 90th Academy Awards, including the oldest acting nominee -- 88-year-old Christopher Plummer ("All the Money in the World") -- and the debut film of Jordan Peele, who was nominated for best directing, producing and writing for his hit racial satire "Get Out."

"If you are a nominee tonight who isn't making history, shame on you," he joked.


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