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Oscars kick off with Kimmel joke about Will Smith, win for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ starring Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time in criticizing Will Smith at Sunday’s ceremony, a year after the actor’s shocking slap to Chris Rock at the 2022 show.

Kimmel joked about the infamous moment during his opening monologue at the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

“We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” Kimmel joked. “So, we have strict policies. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any time during the show, they will be awarded the Best Actor Oscar and will be allowed to give a 19-minute speech.”

Smith slapped host Rock onstage for a joke about his wife’s shaved head, Jada Pinkett Smith. Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia due to hair loss. Smith, who won best actor for “King Richard” shortly after the incident, has since been banned from the Academy Awards for a decade.

“The Academy has a crisis team,” Kimmel said Sunday. “If something unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the abuser a hug.”

Sunday marked the third Oscars hosting gig for Kimmel and his first since 2018. He famously hosted the 2017 ceremony at which Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty wrongly named “La La Land” for best picture instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the independent smash hit about a high-stakes journey through alternate dimensions, led all films at the 2023 Oscars with 11 nominations. The sci-fi spectacle got off to a good start on Sunday with Ke Huy Quan winning best supporting actor and Jamie Lee Curtis taking home best supporting actress. Both were first-time nominees.

“My mom is 84 years old and she’s at home watching,” the Vietnam-born Quan said during a tearful acceptance speech. “Mom, I just won an Oscar! My journey started on a ship. I spent a year in a refugee camp and somehow ended up here on the biggest stage in Hollywood. … This is the American dream!”

Ke Huy Quan accepts the award for Best Supporting Actor "Everything everywhere at once" on stage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

“Everything Everywhere” entered the show as a favorite in the best picture category, where other nominees included Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans” and the big-budget blockbusters “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Toilet”. ”

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh’s dark dive into a damaged friendship, was also in the top 10 best picture finalists, as was Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic “Elvis” and Netflix’s anti-war epic ” All Quiet on the Western Front”.

“Everything Everywhere” also received nominations for Michelle Yeoh for best actress and filmmaking duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for best director.

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The best director race sparked controversy after no women were nominated. Kwan and Scheinert, known as The Daniels, joined Spielberg, McDonagh, Todd Field for “Tár” and Ruben Östlund for “Triangle of Sadness” in the category. The all-male field followed best director wins for Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” in 2021 and Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” last year.

Kimmel referenced that scandal when discussing speculation that “Avatar” filmmaker James Cameron skipped the show because he wasn’t nominated for best director.

“How come the Academy doesn’t nominate the guy who directed ‘Avatar’? What do they think she is she, a woman? Kimmel expressionless.

Jamie Lee Curtis accepts Best Supporting Actress for "Everything everywhere at once" on stage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

Yeoh entered the show with the chance to become the first Asian woman to win the best actress award. She was the first woman who identifies as Asian to be nominated in the category. A 1936 candidate, Merle Oberon, had Sri Lankan ancestry, but she kept her ancestry private throughout her life.

Guillermo del Toro won the third Oscar of his career on Sunday and took home the award for best animated film for his adaptation of “Pinocchio.” The Mexican filmmaker previously won best film and best director in 2018 for “The Shape of Water.”

The Oscars booked big-name performers like Rihanna, who revealed her second pregnancy during her Super Bowl halftime show last month, and Lady Gaga, who was a last-minute addition to Sunday’s lineup.

Rihanna’s aspirational anthem “Lift Me Up” from Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is up for best original song, as is Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.”

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