Kimmel Couldn’t Resist Trump Jab During Unwoke Oscars

Kimmel Couldn’t Resist Trump Jab During Unwoke Oscars

“Isn’t it past your jail time?” Kimmel asked former President Donald Trump after reading a Truth Social post in which Trump criticized his performance at the Oscars on Sunday night.

In his own words — delivered with the cadence of a joke but undeniably sincere — Kimmel was starved for attention and figured the best way to put himself back under the spotlight was to cheer on the Democrats’ attempts at bankrupting and imprisoning their political opponents.

The unfortunate thing is that up until then, the 96th Academy Awards had been pleasant and generally inoffensive. There was very little grandstanding by awardees, movies and actors people actually care about won, and the event featured live performances and cameos that normal people would enjoy.

John Cena crawled out on stage naked, Ryan Gosling performed “I’m Just Ken” (monumental win for patriarchy, apropos of nothing), and there was even a Mountain Dew advertisement. Whereas for years, the Oscars have been little more than a self-love fest for Hollywood, there appeared to be a concerted effort by the self-proclaimed tastemakers to meet the people where they are instead of sneering at them. It was an evening largely filled with people having fun for the sake of having fun.

For all intents and purposes, American monoculture was the biggest winner of the 2024 Academy Awards. After all, in 2023, Hollywood created products that people actually wanted to see, and given the routinely dismal ratings the award show routinely pulls, it’s reasonable to assume its organizers would want to try not to unnecessarily alienate people. Considering people were invested in the films nominated this time, why drive them away when they appear to be coming together around a unifying cultural phenomenon for the first time in ages? 

That the show wasn’t a several-hours-long struggle session is sort of amazing, especially when considering some of the films nominated for best picture. “Oppenheimer” is arguably about how America is too mean to communists, “American Fiction” deals with black identity in the publishing industry, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is about the capitalist exploitation of Native Americans, “Zone of Interest” is about Nazis living next to Auschwitz, and “Barbie” is about how dudes freaking rock the difficulties faced by modern women.

But at the end of the day, Hollywood isn’t for common people. It’s for special people like Jimmy Kimmel. It’s for our betters, to whom we must pay attention and praise. That’s why, despite not calling you a bigot or a racist or xenophobic transphobe, Kimmel had to look into the camera, smirk, and remind you he’s on the team trying to send your guy to jail.

That the common man’s tastes and Hollywood’s interests overlapped in the year of our Lord 2024 is a bug, not a feature.

Samuel Mangold-Lenett is a staff editor at The Federalist. His writing has been featured in the Daily Wire, Townhall, The American Spectator, and other outlets. He is a 2022 Claremont Institute Publius Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @smlenett.