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Jimmy Kimmel celebrates below-the-line workers in his opening monologue at Oscars

He expresses gratitude to the below-the-line workers for their support to the industry in trying times.

Jimmy Kimmel celebrates below-the-line workers in his opening monologue at Oscars
Cover Image Source: Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Hollywood often fails to recognize the people who tirelessly work behind the scenes to keep the industry up and running. However, in his recent turn as the Oscar host, Jimmy Kimmel ensured that the biggest night of Hollywood did not go by without giving a nod to below-the-line workers, per Deadline. These individuals were huge pillars of support to the film industry during the writer and actors' strike last year. Their resilience helped the community as they picketed alongside WGA and SAG/AFTRA members to get a better deal from the production houses. Kimmel expressed his gratitude to the group in his moving speech leading to a standing ovation as the crew members of the award show came on the stage.

Image Source: HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Image Source: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Everyone was expecting Kimmel to draw laughter with his opening monologue. He delivered a pleasant surprise by expressing the community's gratitude to the below-the-line workers for their immense contribution and solidarity towards the entertainment industry. “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.”

Image Source: HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Host Jimmy Kimmel, joined by film crew members, speaks onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Image Source: Host Jimmy Kimmel, joined by film crew members, speaks onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Everyone in the audience joined in the applause as the crew members for the Oscars came on the stage. “There they are,” Kimmel said, welcoming them all, “If you wear Skechers to the Oscars, take a bow.” The last few years have been nothing short of emotional for the industry. Amidst the impact of the pandemic on the box office, ongoing issues with streaming and an industry-wide strike after almost two decades, people have turned to each other for support to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Seeing this solidarity being celebrated was a sight to behold.

But, Kimmel being Kimmel, he couldn't let it end without his tongue-in-cheek commentary. “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," he said. "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.”

All of this is happening with another imminent strike brewing on the horizon. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) representatives have begun conversations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) ahead of a summer deadline to negotiate better terms and conditions. The guild workers have expressed that if they are not offered a satisfactory agreement, they will walk off their jobs and stage a strike. “Our folks understand the business they’re in, the sacrifices and precarious nature of employment, and they work within that environment anyway,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in his opening remarks, according to an update put up by IATSE. “But there’s no reason these companies can’t build in more protection, reliability, and predictability that creates more security.”



 

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