Jimmy Kimmel is back as the Academy Awards host for the fourth time, and his opening monologue at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 10 left few in the Oscars audience unscathed.

Kimmel started his opening bit by roasting the Academy for the controversial snubs for “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie. “‘Barbie’ was a monster hit. What an achievement to take a plastic doll nobody even liked anymore. Before this movie, you had a better chance of getting my wife to buy our daughter a pack of Marlboro Reds than a Barbie doll. Now, Barbie’s a feminist icon thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many believed deserved to be nominated for Best Director. I know you’re clapping, but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her, by the way. Don’t act like you had nothing to do with this.”

He then called out “Barbie” producer and star Margot Robbie in the audience. She “put this giant hit together. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are here. Even if neither of you wins an Oscar tonight, you both already won something much more important: the genetic lottery.”

Kimmel then roasted “Oppenheimer” Best Director nominee Christopher Nolan, who notoriously does not use a smartphone on set as the filmmaker revealed during press rounds last year. “Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a smartphone, doesn’t use email, writes scripts on a computer with no internet connection… that’s a powerful way of saying, ‘I will not allow my porn addiction to get in the way of my work.’”

Kimmel teased another “Oppenheimer” nominee, Best Supporting Actor contender Robert Downey Jr., calling the film “the highest point of his long and illustrious career.” Emphasis on “highest,” as Kimmel dug at Downey’s past issues with substance abuse. “Not even 20 years ago, things weren’t going great for Robert.”

Kimmel also singled out Messi the dog from “Anatomy of a Fall,” seated in the audience with his trainer, while getting a little spoiler-y about the Justine Triet-directed French mystery film on his way to a joke: “[Messi] has an overdose scene. I haven’t seen a French actor eat vomit like that since Gérard Depardieu.”

Two other supporting Oscar nominees also were ribbed in Kimmel’s speech: Jodie Foster (“Nyad”) and Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), who were both nominated in 1977 for “Taxi Driver” when Foster was 14. “Jodie Foster is young enough to be Robert De Niro’s daughter. Now, she’s 20 years too old to be his girlfriend.”

Inevitably, Kimmel touched upon the actors’ and writers’ strikes in Hollywood that ended last fall. “We were on strike for a long time, 148 days. For five months, we stood with writers, actors, and directors, the people who actually make the films, that we will not accept a deal — well, not the directors, you guys folded immediately,” Kimmel said. “We said, ‘We will not accept a deal without protections against artificial intelligence.’ As a result, actors no longer have to worry about being replaced by AI. Thanks to this historic agreement, actors can go back to being worried about being replaced by younger, more attractive people.

“And writers, could AI have written ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’? Yes, the answer is yes,” he said. Kimmel added, “It’s hard as a union town. It’s not just a bunch of heavily botoxed […] diabetes prescription-abusing, gluten-sensitive nepo babies with perpetually shivering chihuahuas. This is a coalition of strong, hard-working, mentally tough laborers, women and men who would 100% sure die if we even had to touch the handle of a shovel.”

Kimmel ended his intro by applauding the below-the-line workers who protested during the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. “We were able to make a deal because of the people who rallied beside us,” he said. “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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