Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel says son's health struggles changed his perspective on what's important (Exclusive)

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.

See photos from the Oscars through the years:

The most outrageous Oscar dresses of all time
See Gallery
The most outrageous Oscar dresses of all time

Gwyneth Paltrow in 2002

(Photo Getty)

Cher in 1988

(Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

Kim Basinger in 1990

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Geena Davis in 1992

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Demi Moore in 1989

(Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)

Barbra Streisand in 1992

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Whoopi Goldberg in 1993

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Lizzy Gardiner in 1995

(Photo by Barry King/Liaison)

Kate Winslet in 1996

(Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)

Susan Sarandon in 1996

(Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

Angelina Jolie in 2000

(Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

Bjork in 2001

(Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Cameron Diaz in 2002

(Photo by Steve Granitz Archive 1/WireImage)

Faith Hill in 2002

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Diane Keaton in 2004

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Uma Thurman in 2004

(Photo by KMazur/WireImage for Entertainment Weekly Magazine)

Charlize Theron in 2006

(Photo by Brian VanderBrug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Sally Kirkland in 2007

(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Tilda Swinton in 2008

(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Sophia Loren in 2009

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Charlize Theron in 2010

(Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez in 2010

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Kate Mara in 2012

(Photo Getty)


"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."

The prettiest dresses from the Oscars:

Prettiest Oscars dresses of all time
See Gallery
Prettiest Oscars dresses of all time
Cate Blanchett in Armani (2016) 
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior (2016) 
Amy Adams in Oscar de La Renta (2013)
Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy (1954)
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada (2014)
Anne Hathaway in Giorgio Armani (2009)
Nicole Kidman in Armani (2017)
Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford (2015) 
Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji (2012)
Sarah Jessica Parker in Dior (2009)
Naomi Watts in Armani (2016)
Reese Witherspoon in Dior (2006)
Grace Kelly in Edith Head (1955) 
Julia Roberts in Valentino (2001)
Octavia Spencer in Marchesa (2017)
Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren (1999)
Salma Hayek in Prada (2005)
Viola Davis in Armani (2017)
Cate Blanchett in Armani (2014) 
Charlize Theron in Dior (2013)
Kate Winslet in Ben de Lisi (2002)
Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen (2014)
Jennifer Aniston in Valentino (2009)
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy (2011)
Julianne Moore in Chanel (2015)
Naomi Watts in Armani Prive (2013)
Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang (2011)
Meryl Streep in Lanvin (2013)
Brie Larson in Gucci (2016)
Sandra Bullock in Marchesa (2010)
Penelope Cruz in Versace (2007)
Amy Adams in Gucci (2014)
Emma Stone in Elie Saab (2015)
Halle Berry in Versace (2017)
Julianne Moore in Chanel (2016) 
Mila Kunis in Elie Saab (2011)
Freida Pinto in John Galliano (2009)
Helen Mirren in Christian Lacroix (2007)
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior (2013)
Hilary Swank in Versace (2008)
Hilary Swank in Gucci (2011)
Halle Berry in Marchesa (2011)
Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen (2017)
Actress Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain (2009)
Kate Hudson in Versace (2014)
Jennifer Garner in Oscar de la Renta (2003)
Beyonce in Giorgio Armani Prive (2007)
Michelle Williams in Louis Vitton (2012)
Natalie Portman in Rodarte (2009)
Angelina Jolie in Versace (2012) 

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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