Jimmy Kimmel’s wife addresses Oscars host’s pronunciation of Rihanna after fan confusion
Jimmy Kimmel Live! executive producer Molly McNearney has revealed that her husband Jimmy Kimmel is “obsessed” with correctly pronouncing names.
During Sunday (12 March) night’s live broadcast of the 95th Oscars, the late-night host confused certain viewers when he introduced Rihanna in his opening monologue.
“Rihanna is here,” Kimmel announced, saying her name with a hard “a” – ree-ANN-uh – as opposed to the more commonly used “ree-AH-nuh”.
“It felt funny to people,” McNearney told Variety of Kimmel’s pronunciation of the Oscar-nominated singer’s moniker, however, clarifying that “that is the way you pronounce Rihanna”.
“Now America knows how to pronounce her name, although they won’t. They’ll just assume Jimmy f***ed up, but no, he did not!” she said.
"Jimmy is obsessed with pronouncing people's names correctly," she added. "There is a guy at the show whose job is to find the pronunciations. We always find video of the person saying their own name on camera.”
McNearney then noted: “There’s a whole interview with her about it.
“Jimmy said, ‘I want to call her the way the name that she calls herself.’ And that’s how she says it in Barbados.”
Elsewhere in the interview, McNearney told the outlet that certain Will Smith jokes were cut from the broadcast’s final script.
She also confirmed that the Scientology joke would have been cut as well, had Tom Cruise been in attendance.
“We had about a three-minute chunk of the monologue dedicated to Tom Cruise, honouring him and his role in reviving the movie industry,” she said, adding: “We were so disappointed when we learn a few days before the Oscars that he wouldn’t be there. Jimmy loves him and really wanted to celebrate him.”
You can find The Independent’s rundown of Jimmy Kimmel’s best zingers from the ceremony here, as well as a list of the winners in full here.