• Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 2017 Oscars (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The 2017 Oscars monologue played it safe, but did it also reveal switching late night TV show host allegiances?
27 Feb 2017 - 2:00 PM  UPDATED 27 Feb 2017 - 7:48 PM

The struggle for Academy Awards show hosts is real. Do a great job and nobody will remember you hosted it, but do a terrible job and it can sink a career.

Back in 1995, David Letterman was the hottest guy in US late night TV. And then he took to the stage at the Oscars and introduced Uma to Oprah. His career was never the same again. 

The 2017 Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel this year didn't sink his career. With a set of jokes that seemed better constructed to play to the room rather than the home audience, Kimmel will be reviewed by TV critics as an amiable host.

His opening monologue played heavily into jokes about Donald Trump and the current political climate in the US, but veered away from being too political or cutting. While it made for a slightly facile monologue, it was fine for a country that is currently so politically divided.

Some well-delivered jokes delivered at the expense of Hollywood's most likeable guy, Matt Damon, continued Kimmel's long-running on-again, off-again bromance gag with the actor. But the highlight of the opening monologue was with an acknowledgement of the problems the Academy Awards has had with race historically, but especially recently as the #OscarsSoWhite campaign highlighted. In a slightly savage bite at predicted-Best Picture winner La La Land, Kimmel used the populist Hidden Figures to comment that "Black people saved NASA, white people saves jazz."

The moment from the opening of the Academy Awards that had TV critics tweeting up a storm was the surprise musical introduction by Justin Timberlake. Replacing the traditional pre-recorded video intro, Timberlake entered singing the nominated Can't Stop The Feeling from the animated film Trolls.

An innocuous moment perhaps, but with Timberlake so publicly tied to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, many critics were quick to point out Timberlake's changing allegiances. Here, on the night that Kimmel is on screen, mingling with the world's biggest celebrities, this is where Timberlake chooses to play on stage with Fallon's competition.

With Fallon's declining ratings and diminished stature in late night, Timberlake has seemingly gotten on board with the late night host presenting the Academy Awards and not the lesser Golden Globes. Has Justin Timberlake swapped one Jimmy for another?

Huge if true.

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