Jimmy Kimmel has seen, heard and, let’s be honest, told way too many Will Smith–Chris Rock 2022 Academy Award slap jokes. But on Sunday night (March 12), the late night talker will be back on the Oscars stage for his third go-round as the night’s host and in his first one-on-one interview promoting the show he assured Good Morning America‘s Lara Spencer on Thursday (March 9) that there will be no such incidents on his watch.
“I’ll tell you what, nobody got hit when I hosted the show,” Kimmel joked about his 2017 and 2018 stints keeping the trains running on movie’s biggest night. Kimmel said he’s given it a lot of thought and he knows that “a million jokes have been made about it, a million think pieces have been written on it… There has been a lot said about it, so whatever I say has to be I think — you know, it has to be good.”
So rest assured that Kimmel has plenty to say about the thing that will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind. “Everybody’s gonna be waiting for that moment. And that will be part of the show, but certainly not the focus of the show,” he said of the notorious incident that birthed a million headlines after Smith shocked viewers by storming the stage and slapping comedian Rock across the face after the stand-up made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Besides, Kimmel knows what happens when things go sideways at the Oscars, as they did in 2017 when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the best picture award and accidentally said La La Land instead of the correct winner, Moonlight.
“We had a little envelope problem the first time,” Kimmel said. “That was that. And then — but I’ll tell you what, nobody got hit when I hosted the show. Everybody was well-behaved at my Oscars.”
Kimmel said he’s also really excited for Rihanna‘s performance of her Oscar-nominated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ballad “Lift Me Up.” After the singer revealed that she is pregnant with her second child during this year’s Super Bowl LVII halftime performance, Kimmel said Sunday’s set should be equally dramatic.
“Rihanna is more pregnant than the Super Bowl,” he said. “She’s bigger, it’s bigger. Come see Rihanna have a baby!” And as for Kimmel’s long-time A-list nemesis, actor Matt Damon, you can surely imagine what Jimmy had to say about that. “Matt Damon… was not invited, was not nominated, and I hope he’s never invited or nominated again.”
Watch Kimmel on GMA here.
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