“This was a sensational moment for the country and the network and yourself,” Letterman told the host in his third time hosting the Oscars. “You know what this does to you, don‘not you? You are the prince of Hollywood.” He then added: “Congratulations for reviving this carcass and the network and the academy should be very grateful, nice going.”
In contrast, when Letterman hosted the awards in 1995, he joked, “It was such a bombshell that the Academy thought it might have been terrorists.” He went on to gulp about the bit he “really enjoyed” where Kimmel had to tell Cocaine Bear to leave Malala Yousafzai alone.
Kimmel actually tried his best to change the subject and talk about his guest’s latest foray into serious interviews, but Letterman wasn’t having it. “The show was so bad that the Academy got together and they said, ‘We can never let this happen again!'” he joked, “so they shut down the film industry for a year.”
But then Letterman finally shifted from self-deprecating to pitching to an even bigger celebrity goal.
“Here’s something that might be a little touchy,” Letterman said. “Where was Tom Cruise?”
After a brief pause, Kimmel replied, “We don’t know where Tom Cruise was. We heard ‘production issues.'” When Letterman called it “bullshit,” Kimmel said, “Exactly, that‘It’s very non-specific, but we have no idea what happened.”
According to reports prior to the ceremony, the Top Gun: Maverick star was unable to attend because he was filming the latest Impossible mission films overseas, while other rumors indicated he was trying to avoid a run-in with ex-wife Nicole Kidman. It later emerged that he had been in London to celebrate Michael Caine’s 90th birthday.
“Tom Cruise should have been there celebrating his big jet-pack maverick show,” Letterman told Kimmel, who suggested he might have skipped the event because he knew he wasn’t going to win. “Between you and me, he should have been there, right?”
“Yes, of course,” Kimmel replied, “he’s the prince of Hollywood.”
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