Jimmy Kimmel would have had the last laugh at the Oscars, if not for the shocking best picture mix-up. The host of the ceremony revealed that a final zinger was in store for Matt Damon until La La Land was accidentally announced as best picture instead of Moonlight.
“The plan for the last joke was — the best picture winner is announced, they make a speech, I was assuming the best picture was not going to be Manchester by the Sea. I said to [Damon] if it’s not Manchester by the Sea, I’m going to be sitting next to you and it’s going to be my revenge for the Emmys,” Kimmel explained The Bill Simmons Podcast. The late-night personality was referring to the 2016 Emmys, which he was also hosting when Damon heckled Kimmel for losing Outstanding Variety Talk Series.
Kimmel further explained of his planned joke, which would have continued the pair’s on-going gag, “I’d be sitting next to him and it would start on me. I’d start wrapping the show up but then the camera would widen and we’d see that Matt would be sitting next to me and I would say, ‘Well, you know it’s unbelievable, you know Casey [Affleck] won [best actor] and Kenneth [Lonergan] won [best original screenplay]. There’s only one person who didn’t win tonight and it’s you.’ It would have been a nice little button to the whole night.”
And then it happened: presenters Faye Dunaway inadvertently announced La La Land as the winner of best picture.
“We’re watching and waiting for the camera but suddenly the stage manager wanders on set, which is never supposed to happen and he’s in the shot, which I know is not supposed to happen,” Kimmel recalled. “So I really don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t hear very well, so Matt picks up someone saying they have the wrong movie for Best Picture. He says to me, ‘I think they announced the wrong best picture,’ and I said, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I heard them saying that it’s the wrong movie,’ and I looked at Matt and I said, ‘Well, I guess I better go out there,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I guess you better.'”
Kimmel added how he was stuck in the huddle of producers, accountants, stage managers, and executives as “hell is breaking loose.” He said, “I mean, I feel bad for them, but I can’t help but laugh because it’s such an uncomfortable situation.”
At least, he got a couple jabs in.
Listen to Kimmel’s story on The Bill Simmons Podcast.