Jimmy Kimmel Brings Oscar Audience To Its Feet With Rousing Salute To Below-The-Line Workers, “The People Who Rallied Beside Us”

Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel drew a standing ovation at the Dolby Theatre by capping off his show-opening monologue with a salute to below-the-line union workers.

“We were able to make a deal because of the people who rallied beside us,” Kimmel said, alluding to those who picketed in support of WGA and SAG/AFTRA members. “Before we celebrate ourselves, let’s have a very well-deserved round of applause for the people who work behind the scenes: the Teamsters, the truck drivers, the lighting crew, sound, camera, gaffers, grips. That’s right. All the people who refused to cross the picket line”

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As the applause built and started to drown Kimmel out, the host invited crew members working on the ABC awards telecast to step out onstage and acknowledge the cheers. (Watch the full union shout-out above, starting at the 10:30 mark.)

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“There they are,” Kimmel said, adding a quip, “If you wear Skechers to the Oscars, take a bow.”

Kimmel’s gesture came as Hollywood found itself nearing yet another labor crossroads after last year’s dual strikes shut down the town for several months. IATSE negotiators have begun talks with the AMPTP ahead of a summer deadline, but guild members have been indicating a strong willingness to walk off the job.

Before the sincerity of the onstage moment fully materialized, the segment of the monologue appeared to be yet another string of gimlet-eyed observations by the host.

“Now that the strike is over, now that [SAG/AFTRA President] Fran Drescher has returned to her volunteer work, reading loudly to the hearing-impaired, we can be proud that this long and difficult work stoppage taught us that this very strange town of ours, as pretentious and superficial as it can be, at its heart is a union town. It’s not just a bunch of heavily Botoxed, Hailey Bieber smoothie-drinking, diabetes-prescription-abusing, gluten-sensitive nepo babies with perpetually shivering Chihuahuas. This is a coalition of strong, hard-working mentally tough American laborers. Women and men who would 100% for sure die if we even had to touch the handle of a shovel.”

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After generating laughs from that well-crafted run of barbs, Kimmel then pivoted into a genuine shoutout, one that likely caused more than a few studio eyebrows to be raised.

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