Yes, Jimmy Kimmel read a real Donald Trump review at the Oscars. No, it wasn’t planned

Jimmy Kimmel in a tuxedo with a bowtie, standing onstage gesturing with his hands out to his sides
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 96th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel skewered a number of Hollywood personalities at the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday — but not all of his digs were scripted.

The “Jimmy Kimmel Live” comedian revealed that his grand finale, which took aim at former President Trump and his review of the ceremony, was not part of the Oscars plan. Kimmel told daytime co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos in a post-show interview that producers said he had extra time at the end of the show — after actor Al Pacino unexpectedly sped through the best picture category.

“I’m like, ‘I’m reading the Trump tweet,’” he recalled. “‘And they’re like, ‘No, no don’t read that.’”


Oscar winners “Oppenheimer,” “Poor Things,” Emma Stone and more took home Academy Awards during Sunday’s ceremony.

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Well, he did.

The comedian recited the first part of Trump’s Truth Social Oscars review verbatim: “Has there EVER been a WORSE HOST than Jimmy Kimmel at The Oscars. His opening was that of a less than average person trying too hard to be something which he is not, and never can be.”

The gag earned laughs from stars in attendance including Jodie Foster, who was caught on camera mid-laugh. Kimmel ended the broadcast on ABC by thanking Trump for his viewership and joking, “Isn’t it past your jail time?”

Weeks before the Oscars, Kimmel told The Times, “I’m not always classy and pristine.” His performance on Sunday reflected just that.

“Oppenheimer” won several top awards, including best picture, director and lead actor, while lead actress went to Emma Stone for “Poor Things.” Billie Eilish won best song after Ryan Gosling performed “I’m Just Ken.”

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The late-night comedian tackled buzzy headlines — ranging from the Hollywood strikes to the Oscar-nominated “Barbenheimer” powerhouse duo — during his opening monologue as he returned for the fourth time to host the industry’s biggest night. He also had “Oppenheimer” star and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. in his sights.

“This is the highest point of Robert Downey Jr.’s long and illustrious career,” Kimmel said, “or one of the highest points.”

The camera quickly panned to the three-time nominee, who has been open about his previous struggles with drug addiction. Downey tapped on his nose, to which Kimmel responded: “Is it too on the nose? Or is that a drug motion he made?”


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In response to an underwhelming joke from Kimmel about his body, Downey gestured to the comedian to wrap up the gag.

During his opener, Kimmel addressed “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig’s snub, took a dig at Sony’s “Madame Web” and provided a spotlight for “Anatomy of a Fall” dog actor Messi, who caused a stir in Oscars publicist circles days before the ceremony.

With more digs at best picture nominee “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, Kimmel’s monologue Sunday was less pointed than his opener from the 2023 ceremony. Last year he addressed Oscar winner Will Smith’s controversial slap during the 2022 show. “We want you to feel safe,” he quipped last year, “and most importantly, we want me to feel safe.”

Our team at the 96th Academy Awards runs down the moments you need to know about and why they mattered.

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The longtime ABC host — whose Oscars hosting tenure included that infamous best picture envelope debacle in 2017 — concluded his monologue by addressing the months-long writers’ and actors’ strikes in 2023 that brought production and promotion of film and television projects to a halt.

For months, the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA negotiated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to address several pressing issues, including residuals and the growing use of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry. The writers’ strike ended in late September 2023, and the actors’ strike ended in early November.

“We can be proud of the fact that this long and difficult work stoppage taught us that this very strange town of ours, as pretentious and superficial as it can be, at its heart is a union town,” Kimmel said.


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He added: “It’s not just a bunch of heavily botoxed, Hailey Bieber smoothie-drinking ... nepo babies with perpetually shivering Chihuahuas. This is a coalition of strong, hardworking, mentally tough American laborers. Women and men who would 100% for sure die if we even had to touch the handle of a shovel.”

Crew workers then joined Kimmel onstage for the final moments of his monologue. As the Oscars audience rose to their feet, Kimmel vowed to show solidarity for the below-the-line workers as they enter bargaining.

“We will stand with you too,” he said.

Leading up to the Academy Awards, Kimmel admitted to The Times, “I did not think I would ever [host the Oscars] again.”

“I did two of them, and they went well — something crazy happened at one of them with a story I’ll have for the rest of my life,” he said in an interview published last month. “I know how much work goes into them, so I thought, ‘Yeah, I don’t necessarily want to do this ever again.’”

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Swaying him to return were projects including “Barbie,” a popular film that led much of the cultural conversation last year and earned Oscar cred as the Greta Gerwig-helmed film was nominated in eight categories, and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer, up for 13 prizes.

“‘Well, maybe I’ll do this again, because at least I have a point of reference with everyone,’” Kimmel said.


The 96th Academy Awards aired live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. “Oppenheimer” was the night’s big winner, taking home seven Oscars including best picture.