Oscars Host Jimmy Kimmel Says Son's Health Struggles Changed His Perspective on What's Important (Exclusive)

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Even though Jimmy Kimmel is returning to host the 2018 Oscars, the person hosting the show is a whole new man.

While last year's show will forever be remembered for the Moonlight/La La Land flub, Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, faced a different, much more real crisis just a few months later when their infant son, Billy, had to undergo life-saving open heart surgery.

"It makes me more thankful in general for sure," the 50-year-old comedian told ET's Kevin Frazier on Wednesday. "To be honest, it minimizes the importance of something like [the Oscars], which last year to me seemed to be the more important thing in the world. And then you just get the reminder that this isn't even close to the most important thing in the world, and you're reminded of that every day when you go home, so in a way, yes, it's definitely made me appreciate my life but it also puts things in perspective."

As for how Kimmel will approach things differently this time around, his increased perspective likely does lend itself to navigating as host amid everything that's happening socially and politically in Hollywood and America, from Time's Up to the gun debate to the DREAM Act.

"It seems like every year there are serious things happening," he acknowledged. "This year, it seems like there are nine of them happening all at once, so that's something that has to be handled, has to be balanced, has to make sure that people that want time have enough time to talk about."

"You don't want to get in a situation where these causes, which are all very worthwhile, are competing against one another," he added.

Apart from that, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host thinks that the strength of this year's nominees will allow for an easier time writing jokes.

"I feel like more people have seen the movies than last year, so that's good," he noted. "You have a couple of big hits in there. DunkirkShape of Water was a great movie. You have Get Outwhich everybody saw, so that definitely helps. It's hard to do jokes about movies people haven't seen."

Asked whether Get Out's already-iconic "sunken place" set-piece will show up, he responded, "I think we're in the sunken place right now."

Sounds like we're in for a great show! Plus, Kimmel also made a somewhat compelling case that last year's Best Picture flub was more of a blessing than a curse: "I guess the worst thing the Oscars can be is boring I think, right?"

Good point!

The 90th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on Sunday, March 4, 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST on ABC.


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