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    Jimmy Kimmel to return as Oscars host

    LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars for a third time, organisers said on Monday, as Hollywood’s biggest award show tries to leave behind the controversy still swirling around its most recent edition.

    Kimmel is seen by the industry as a safe pair of hands for the 95th Academy Awards, after the last Oscars in March this year featured a shocking moment in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock live on stage.

    “Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honour or a trap,” said Kimmel in a statement.

    “Either way, I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said ‘no’,” joked the host, best known for ABC’s long-running late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

    Kimmel previously hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018. On the first of those occasions, La La Land was accidentally announced as the best picture winner, before Moonlight was awarded the night’s final prize.

    He also drew near-universal praise for his hosting of television’s Emmys in 2020, when organisers scrambled to produce a socially distanced show from a near-empty Los Angeles theatre early in the pandemic.

    Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, producers of the next Oscars, said Kimmel “will be funny and ready for anything!”

    Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang said Kimmel would be the “perfect host” for the ceremony, noting his “live TV expertise”.

    ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich said Kimmel “can handle anything with both heart and humour”.

    Oscars television ratings have markedly declined in recent years – like nearly all award shows – although they rebounded to 16.6 million last year, from a record-low 9.9 million for the previous edition.

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