Jimmy Kimmel would have been forced to cut Scientology joke if Tom Cruise attended the Oscars
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As always, no celebrity was safe from the usual light-hearted digs at this year’s Oscars, where host Jimmy Kimmel was sure to make sure the biggest names felt included.
Kimmel made quips about everything, from Nicole Kidman's viral AMC ad to Nick Cannon's ever-growing brood - and, of course, the infamous Will Smith slap, which was inevitably mentioned several times throughout the evening.
Yep, even some faces who weren’t there got called out by Kimmel, who took aim at both Tom Cruise and James Cameron for not showing up, despite their films – Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, respectively – being up for Best Picture.
At one point, the presenter made a thinly-veiled reference to Cruise being a member of the Church of Scientology, which was founded by L. Ron Hubbard.
“The movie that saved the movies,” he began.
“Everyone loved Top Gun — everybody. I mean, Tom Cruise with his shirt off in that beach football scene. L. Ron hubba-hubba — you know what I’m saying?”
But it turns out this joke would never have happened if Cruise had turned up, with the spokesperson for the actor telling People that he had to miss the ceremony as he was filming Mission: Impossible 8 overseas.
In an interview with Variety, Jimmy Kimmel Live executive producer Molly McNearney – who also happens to be Kimmel’s wife – revealed that there were a number of jokes that didn’t go ahead for various reasons.
She said: “Jimmy loves Tom. Tom had just been on the show the week before.
“And they talked about seeing each other and Jimmy was excited to tell him that we got real Navy pilots to do the flyover at the top of the Oscars. Jimmy was really disappointed he didn’t come.”
When asked if the L. Ron Hubbard joke would have been told if Cruise was in the audience, McNearney replied: “No. We had about a three minute chunk of the monologue dedicated to Tom Cruise, honouring him and his role in reviving the movie industry.”
She added: “We were so disappointed when we learn a few days before the Oscars that he wouldn’t be there. Jimmy loves him and really wanted to celebrate him.
McNearney also said Kimmel tends to send his monologue to ‘a group of people he trusts’, including comedy writers and comedians.
She continued: “They don’t help with the monologue. They just tell him like that joke’s working, that joke’s not working. No, Judd was not writing or doing anything for the monologue.”
According to McNearney, there were other changes they had to consider, depending on who was there – and where they were.
“We had two versions of the monologue,” she said.
“One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat. One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap. A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats.”