Jimmy Kimmel’s First Oscars Promo Signals Slap Jokes to Come

Jimmy Kimmel might not have been the first choice (or even the 11th) to host the 2023 Oscars. But now that he’s secured the gig, his first promo for the awards ceremony has been unveiled. The soon-to-be three-time emcee shared the promotional spot, which spoofs best-picture nominees Top Gun: Maverick, during Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday.

He’s joined by Mavericks stars Jon Hamm and Charles Parnell, who poses as their opposite characters Kimmel in a Tom Cruise–esque flight suit. “I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting to be asked to host again,” the late-night host said. Hamm quips, “We asked a lot of people before you,” saying that all of them passed—including Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Chevy Chase, and “a child dressed as a pirate,” Parnell adds.

Parnell continues, “ABC has tasked us with finding a host who is unflappable and unflappable.” Kimmel replies, “That’s good because I can’t get slapped—I cry a lot.”

That joke references Will Smith‘s infamous Oscars slap of Rock, which Kimmel has already said will have to be addressed when the 95th Academy Awards air on ABC. “It’s got to come up in some way,” he told extra in November. “You know, I don’t want to really make it light of course, because it’s for comedians [it wasn’t light]. You know, comedians are mad about it…It’s one of those things that is for a group of people that find everything funny, it’s, like, not funny, you know? But of course, you have to [address it]. Just like when they read the wrong winner one year when I hosted the Oscars, we had to make mention of that the next year.”

During the 2023 Oscar Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Academy president Janet Yang addressed the slap as well. She told attendees that the organization’s response to the incident was “inadequate” and that they intend to “act swiftly, compassionately, and decisively” if similar events (somehow) repeat themselves.

Kimmel plans to keep the rest of the proceedings by the book, he insists on the promo. “I’ll lead a standing ovation for someone old, and if I make it out, there’s only four or five hours left until we give the best picture to, hopefully, the right movie,” Kimmel jokes. That was another reference to a previous ceremony: his first time as Oscars hosted in 2017, the year that La La Land was mistakenly declared the best-picture winner over Moonlight.

Nine-time Oscars host Billy Crystal shows up at the end of the promo to wish Kimmel good luck, and explains that he couldn’t host this year’s ceremony because he had “a dentist appointment…on Sunday night.”

The 2023 Oscars air on Sunday, March 12.

Listen to Vanity Fair’s Little Gold Men podcast now.