Jimmy Kimmel's Wife Jokes She'll 'Never Win' an Argument at Home Again After This Oscars Disagreement

Molly McNearney and Jimmy Kimmel had conflicting views on the host's plan to address Donald Trump during the telecast.

Molly McNearney is not afraid to admit when she's "totally off." The co-executive producer of the 96th Annual Academy Awards telecast -- and real-life wife of host Jimmy Kimmel -- says she made a bad call by attempting to convince Kimmel not to address Donald Trump during the show. 

"I'm really not proud of this, but I tried to talk Jimmy out of reading that," she tells Variety in a post-event interview. 

With about 10 minutes remaining in the broadcast, Kimmel was made aware of a review the former President had shared on Truth Social. In his post, Trump called the show "boring" and rhetorically asked if there had "ever been a worse host." 

The comic responded by reading the quotes verbatim on stage inside the Dolby Theatre, then expressed surprise that Trump was awake and watching the show. "Isn't it past your jail time?" he quipped. 

"I feel like my instincts are usually right, but I was totally off on that," McNearney, who also serves as an executive producer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, reflects. "I said, 'Please don't read this.' And he asked why. I said, 'I just don't want to give Trump airtime in the Oscars. This is the one time we don't have to talk about him. We talk about him every night... This night is not about him and it's not about politics. My second thought was just the risk, like the show was going well! I just wanted to make sure it ended well, and didn't want it to end on a sour note." 

But Kimmel pushed back. 

"He had a glimmer in his eye, and he said, 'I got this,'" McNearney says. "He really did. This is where he shines." 

She adds, "I will tell you, I'm never going to win an argument in my household again!" 

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
Molly McNearney at the 96th Annual Oscars held at at the Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. - Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Kimmel also addressed the disagreement in an interview with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos for Live with Kelly and Mark that aired on Monday, revealing that producers urged him not to read the post without naming his wife directly. 

The 2024 Oscars marked Kimmel's fourth turn as emcee. In his opening monologue, Kimmel began by poking fun at the show's earlier start time and always-lengthy run time, cracking, "Thank you for having me back and congratulations to each and every one of you for making it to the Academy Awards. And for making it on time. The show, as you know, is starting an hour earlier this year, but don't worry, it will still end very, very late. In fact, we're already five minutes over and I am not joking."

He also called out the high-profile snubs Barbie faced going into this year's show, stating, "Now Barbie is a feminist icon, thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many believed deserved to be nominated for Best Director tonight."

As she got a round of applause, Kimmel joked, "Hold on a second. 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."

"Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are here tonight. Look, kids, it's Barbie and Ken sitting near each other," Kimmel continued. "Ryan, Margot, I want you to know that even if neither one of you wins an Oscar tonight, you both already won something much more important -- the genetic lottery."

Kimmel also didn't shy away from mixing some political commentary into his monologue a few times.

"In Poor Things, Emma [Stone] played an adult woman with the brain of a child -- like the lady who gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union on Thursday night," Kimmel joked, referring to Sen. Katie Britt's widely derided GOP response

Among the night's highlights was a high-energy performance of "I'm Just Ken" from Gosling, and a bit in which John Cena appeared to hit the stage in the nude as a tribute to the 1974 Oscars streaker.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In her interview with Variety, McNearney reveals that producers kept the moment a surprise by rehearsing on a closed set. 

"They were sweating," she says of ABC's standards and practices executives. "I think at the end we all got to a spot where we were comfortable, S&P was comfortable, and it didn't compromise the comedy a bit. I was very thankful that we didn't have to send him out there in tighty whities, which I'm sure legal would have preferred." 

Cena stepped out to present the trophy for Best Costume Design in what looked like just his birthday suit, covering his manhood with just the award envelope. In reality, he was wearing a flesh-colored piece of fabric on his body to protect his modesty, though viewers both at home and in the audience struggled to decipher whether he was indeed wearing anything at all. 

"That's what I wanted!" McNearney says of the debate. "Maybe it's not what [S&P] wanted. That's definitely what I want!" 

The 2024 Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, aired live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 10, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on ABC. Follow along at ETonline.com for full Oscars coverage, including red carpet arrivals, the complete winners list and more.


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