When you’ve hosted the Oscars four times, you probably have a little more leeway in doing what you want instead of what you’re asked. That’s apparently how it went down with one particular viral moment during the 96th annual Academy Awards on Sunday (March 10), when host Jimmy Kimmel decided to share Donald Trump’s criticism of the live show.

The comedian sat down with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos for After the Oscars, which aired Monday morning on ABC, to discuss how the moment came to be. The topic came up after the Live With Kelly and Mark cohosts mentioned Al Pacino’s flub in announcing the best picture winner from the Dolby Theatre stage in Los Angeles. Rather than reading off the names of all the nominated projects, the celebrated 83-year-old actor skipped over the titles of the 10 films and went straight to opening the envelope and revealing the winner with a non-traditional, “And my eyes see Oppenheimer!”

“I guess he’s never watched an award show before? It seems like everyone in America knows the rhythm of how it’s supposed to go down to ‘And the Oscar goes to …,” Kimmel noted. And because of that unique and very brief announcement, the late-night host said he was told he had some extra time to kill — but his idea for eating up an extra moment or two didn’t go over so well.

“I was like, ‘I’m reading the Trump tweet,’” Kimmel shared without revealing who advised against the move. “They were like, ‘No! No don’t read that!’ I said, ‘Yes I am!’”

And so, he did. The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host pulled out his cellphone while on stage and proceeded to share the twice-impeached former president’s review of the comedian’s fourth time hosting the Oscars. Trump’s critique posted to Truth Social read in part, “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.” He also slammed the ceremony as a “really bad politically correct show.”

Kimmel’s clapback to Trump on the live telecast? “Isn’t it past your jail time?”

The bit went viral. Oscars producer Molly McNearney, who is married to the comedian, told Variety on Monday that she was the one who had asked Kimmel to not read the critique on air. “I will tell you, I’m really not proud of this, but I tried to talk Jimmy out of reading that,” she admitted to the publication. “I feel like my instincts are usually right, but I was totally off on that. I said, ‘Please don’t read this.’ And he asked why. I said, ‘I don’t want to give Trump airtime in the Oscars.’ This is the one time we don’t have to talk about him. We talk about him every night… This night is not about him and it’s not about politics.”

“But he had a glimmer in his eye, and he said, ‘I got this.’ He really did. This is where he shines,” McNearney, who also executive produces Jimmy Kimmel Live!, noted. “I will tell you, I’m never going to win an argument in my household again!”

The former president, who is also the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination this year, is currently facing four criminal indictments and more than 90 charges in various states.

Watch Kimmel discuss reading Trump’s Oscar review during the live ceremony above.

Anna Chan
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