Why Fans Hoped Aaron Rodgers Would Give Jimmy Kimmel The Will Smith Treatment At 2024 Oscars

As host Jimmy Kimmel took over the Oscar stage tonight, many fans watched the television host intently, seemingly hoping, in part, to get a remake of the Will Smith/Chris Rock slap at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022. This year's ceremony, the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" host revealed to CNN that he had no plans to mention NFL player Aaron Rodgers in his monologue. "Uh, I don't know who that is," Kimmel quipped when asked about Rodgers. Speaking further, the nighttime host — who has since been in a feud with Rodgers — admitted he would not be having the athlete on his eponymous show. "The way I look at it. The next step is for Aaron Rodgers to reach out to me — not the other way around. So, I don't see that happening. Listen, we have some major differences in the way we think," Kimmel explained to the outlet. 

Despite hinting at what to expect from his monologue and hosting duties, fans anticipated a little drama from both men. "Need Aaron Rodgers to go up on stage tonight and slap Jimmy Kimmel like Will Smith #Oscars," one person wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Is Aaron Rodgers going to be there, could be the designated Kimmel slapper," another user tweeted. But while some fans looked forward to an altercation between the two men, others were even more shocked by the host's decision to steer clear of trouble. "Surprised Jimmy Kimmel didn't throw in an Aaron Rodgers joke in that monologue," the fan wrote in a tweet

But while Kimmel may have knowingly avoided mentioning the NFL star in his monologue — it's not like he's ever shied away from dropping his name before.

Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel's feud dates back to 2021

Jimmy Kimmel's feud with Aaron Rodgers dates back to 2021 when he called out the NFL star for lying about his COVID-19 vaccination status. "Honestly, the only thing worse than not getting vaccinated when you're in close contact with other people is letting them think you're vaccinated when you're not. It's basically the COVID equivalent of 'the condom fell off.' Aaron is a Karen. That's the fact of the matter," Kimmel criticized in an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Though the vaccination scandal eventually died down, Rodgers' name soon found its way back to Kimmel's mouth.

In 2023, when the former Green Bay Packers player started peddling UFO-related conspiracy theories, Kimmel publicly blasted Rodgers, implying that the football player was suffering from the years-long effect of the many concussions he survived during his time in the NFL. Things came to a head between the two men in January 2024 when Rodgers — presumably in an attempt to get back at the host — claimed Kimmel would appear on the infamous Jeffrey Epstein list. "It's supposed to be coming out soon. There's a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, that are really hoping that doesn't come out," Rodgers said during an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show.

Unsurprisingly, Rodgers's claim was met with pushback from Kimmel, who wasted no time in defending himself. "For the record, I've not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein, nor will you find my name on any list," the television host wrote in part on his X account.

Fans believe Robert Downey Jr. should have given Kimmel the Will Smith treatment

Aaron Rodgers might have escaped being name-dropped, but not everyone was as lucky — just ask Robert Downey Jr. Amid his hosting duties at the 2024 Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel took a swing at Downey Jr. and the actor's previous struggle with substance abuse. "This is the highest point of Robert Downey Jr.'s long and illustrious career. Well, one of the highest points," Kimmel quipped in his monologue. Initially amused, Downey Jr. grinned at the joke while seemingly tapping his nose in recognition. Not letting down, Kimmel took another jab at the veteran actor. "Was that too on the nose, or was that a drug motion you made?" he asked. While it managed to rouse laughter from the audience, Kimmel's joke did not land well with viewers at home, who took to social media to share their thoughts. 

Admitting Kimmel's comment was in bad taste, many argued Downey Jr. would have been right to pick up a fight with the comic. "Robert Downey Jr if you want to Will Smith slap Jimmy Kimmel I don't blame you," one person tweeted. "Is Robert Downey Jr. going to storm the stage and slap Jimmy Kimmel?" another asked. Between the wins, losses, and fashion moments, the 2024 Oscars sure came with its own unique bundle of drama — albeit not what fans anticipated. Not to worry, though; there is always next year!