"Just a quick update in case you're confused: There won't be a host tonight, there is no popular movie category and Mexico is not paying for the wall," Rudolph said to laughs from the star-studded audience.
The joke was predictably divisive, with several viewers taking to social media to give their thoughts on it.
"That political joke sure wasn't forced nope not at all," one Twitter user wrote.
"Only take 25 seconds into the star of the #Oscars for someone to make a stupid political joke. Turned off. Byeeeee," another slighted viewer said.
"Anyone who took the under of 3 minutes before the first political jab on the #Oscars ...... congratulations!" someone else wrote.
The joke breezed over the controversy that erupted when the Academy announced — and quickly took back — that a "popular movie" category would be added. The joke also confirmed that Whoopi Goldberg would not, in fact, be hosting the awards, as many fans theorized might happen in the wake of the Kevin Hart controversy.
Quickly following the first political joke of the night, the trio of Saturday Night Live women presented the award for Best Supporting Actress, which went to Regina King for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk.0comments
After the broadcast jumped right into the awards with Best Supporting Actress, the next award announced was Best Documentary Feature, which went to Free Solo. Viewers immediately took to Twitter after filmmakers cursed during their acceptance speech, prompting the first bleep of the night.
The 91st Academy Awards are live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles starting at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.