HOLLYWOOD (AFP) - Hollywood was sprinkled with stardust Sunday as the film industry's A-listers came out for the Oscars, hosted by late night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel, whose opening monologue targeted disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Dark comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is in pole position for the most prestigious prizes, although fairy tale romance The Shape Of Water leads the overall charge with 13 nominations on a night expected to highlight Tinseltown's campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality.
Kimmel said Weinstein's downfall following dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct "was long overdue," along with the demise of numerous other Tinseltown figures caught up in the scandal.
"We can't let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example," he said.
"And the truth is, if we are successful here, if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go."
Kimmel highlighted a number of milestones, including the oldest acting nominee, 88-year-old Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World) and the debut film of Jordan Peele, who was nominated for best directing, producing and writing for his hit racial satire Get Out. "If you are a nominee tonight who isn't making history, shame on you," he joked.
But the host highlighted the work of the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality, pointing out that only 11 percent of movies are made by women.
"We will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish," he joked, in a reference to the plot of Guillermo del Toro's The Shape Of Water. The first Oscar of the night, best supporting actor, went to Sam Rockwell for his acclaimed turn as a racist, drunk police officer in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.