Oscars’ host Jimmy Kimmel used his regular TV platform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to explain his bewilderment onstage at the Academy Awards, where Warren Beatty infamously had the wrong Best Picture Oscar envelope, awarding La La Land by mistake.
“When you do a show like this, you’re not just the host, you’re also the lead detective,” Kimmel told his viewers on Monday. “You’re like the sheriff of the show.” So he walked the audience through the scene of Sunday’s crime step-by-step.
At the time when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway wrongly presented La La Land with Best Picture, Kimmel was sitting in the theater next to his dear friend and arch nemesis, Matt Damon. “The plan is for me to end the show in the audience in a seat next to Matt Damon,” Kimmel explained. “Whatever confusion there was about who won,” he added in a brief digression, “Matt Damon lost.”
The onstage ruckus required Kimmel to call an audible and scrap the planned Damon segment. “We notice some commotion going on, and Matt says, ‘I think I heard the stage manager say they got the winner wrong,'” Kimmel recalled. “So we’re sitting there thinking, ‘the host will go onstage and clear this up.’ Then I remember: I’m the host.”
“It was kind of scary in a way,” he admitted. But not too scary: “I’m standing there like an idiot feeling bad for these guys, but also trying really hard not to laugh, to be honest.” The host got some unexpected help from Denzel Washington, who stepped up as a stage manager of sorts in the chaos. “I see Denzel in the front row trying to get my attention,” Kimmel remembered. “He yells, ‘Barry!’ Eventually I figure out that Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, is standing behind me, and Denzel wants me to get him to the microphone, which makes sense. Thank God Denzel was there to make sense.”
Kimmel praised the La La Land producers for gracefully handling an awkward situation and giving up their Oscars to the team from Moonlight without a fight. “It was a very amicable custody arrangement,” he quipped. “They didn’t ask for visitation or anything.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Kimmel said of hosting the Oscars. “We were chugging along and suddenly it turned into one of those Maury Povich paternity test shows. It was the weirdest TV finale since Lost.”
‘Moonlight’ wins Best Picture over ‘La La Land’ in one of the biggest snafus in Oscars history.