Jimmy Kimmel cracks Trump jokes as 89th Oscars open

News Hour:

Host Jimmy Kimmel opened the glitzy Oscars Sunday with a salvo of jokes targeting President Donald Trump on a night expected to be as remarkable for political protest as for its celebration of Hollywood.

Nostalgic musical “La La Land” leads the charge for golden statuettes with 14 nominations at the start of the night, and is the clear frontrunner for the prestigious best picture award.

But, after Justin Timberlake opened the gala with some upbeat music, Kimmel wasted no time putting the A-list audience in a political state of mind.

“This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us,” joked the 49-year-old Kimmel.

The late-night comedian quipped that Trump, who pulled off a political upset win with his campaign that targeted immigration, had taken the heat off Hollywood and its annual gala.

“I want to say thank you to President Trump. Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? That’s gone, thanks to him,” Kimmel said.

“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s glossy tribute to the all-singing, all-dancing Golden Age of Tinseltown’s studio system is vying for more than a dozen statuettes, and many of its nominees are sure-fire winners — if the oddsmakers are right.

The film, which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as an aspiring actress and a struggling jazz musician who fall in love in Los Angeles, has charmed critics the world over and returned more than 10 times its $30 million budget.

Gold Derby, a site that collates experts’ awards predictions, had the musical as a clear favorite in many categories, including best film, director, actress, score and song.

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