The trio opened the show by poking fun at their shared hosting duties. “This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” Schumer, 40, said to which Hall, 51, replied, “You’re right.” The camera then cut to Tiffany Haddish in the audience, clapping and mouthing the word “Facts” with a smile on her face.
Last year, producers dramatically scaled back the Oscars due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only presenters and nominees allowed to attend the gala. “We have been dealing with COVID for two years,” Hall, 58, joked on Sunday, before Schumer added, “Just look at what happened to Timotheé Chalament,” before the camera cut to J.K. Simmons. “I’d still smash,” Hall said.
The Scary Movie star — who jokingly announced to the room that she was “single” during the monologue — later announced that she had been asked to perform a handful of emergency COVID tests. “Don’t worry, it’s only a few people, it’s totally random,” Hall said, before calling Bradley Cooper, Chalamet, Tyler Perry and Simu Liu to join her on stage . “Javier Bardem … no, your test is fine, it says that you’re married — I mean, negative.”
She continued: “Will Smith, you’re married, but I see you’re on the list and Jada [Pinkett Smith] approved you.” The joke was a reference to the “entanglement” that the Matrix star, 50, confessed to having with August Alsina in July 2020. She and the Oscar nominee, 53, were separated at the time, but later reconciled.
With her four men onstage, Hall joked that it would be a “simple” and “typical” PCR test: “You’ll come backstage, take your mask off — if you have one — and your clothes. I’m just gonna swab your mouth with my tongue. … This isn’t up to me. You know, the truth is, we’re in a pandemic.” After sending the lucky gentlemen off stage, the comedian introduced Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin and performed a “COVID pat-down” on the two presenters.
Hall wasn’t the only host having fun with Hollywood’s handsomest stars. During her monologue, Schumer roasted Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in Best Picture nominee Don’t Look Up. “Leonardo Dicaprio, what can I even say about him?” the Life & Beth actress said. “He’s done so much to fight climate change and leave behind a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends.”
The joke earned huge laughs — especially from Jessica Chastain, who was seen covering her face as she laughed and shook her head.
Last month, the stars were announced as the Academy Awards’ first hosts in three years after “weeks” of meetings about Hollywood’s biggest night, per Variety.
Ahead of the ceremony, Sykes teased her plan for sharing the spotlight with Schumer and Hall during the broadcast. “We’re going to share a monologue at the top of the show, and then you’ll see us in different [set ups]. Either we’ll be together, it might be two of us, it might be one of us, who knows?” the New Adventures of Old Christine star said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday, March 21. “To be honest, it’s like whoever gets drunk is gonna be the one that’s backstage. So if you see Amy and Regina out, you can just go, ‘Wanda’s drunk, she’s backstage — drunk.’”
She continued: “I’m here to have fun, it’s not like I’m getting paid. Get what you pay for. You want sober Wanda, you gotta add some more zeroes and move that comma. You’re getting Free Wanda.”
Schumer also made headlines in the days leading up to the Oscars when she revealed that she pitched having Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky make an appearance in order to speak out about the ongoing invasion of his country. “I actually pitched, I wanted to find a way to have Zelenskyy satellite in or make a tape or something just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars,” the Trainwreck star said on The Drew Barrymore Show on March 21. “I am not afraid to go there, but it’s not me producing the Oscars.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity to at least comment on a couple of things,” Schumer continued. “I have some jokes that kind of highlight the sort of current condition. I mean, there are so many awful things happening that it seems hard to focus on which one.”
Ultimately, the trio just wanted to make sure that both the stars in attendance and the audience watching at home have a good time. “Look, it’s a big night. People worked hard on these movies. They got all dressed up and hope to take home some hardware. So I want it to be a fun night,” Sykes told Variety on Tuesday, March 22. “I want people to relax. We’re going to have fun.”