In what you could say was the least hotly contested Oscar race of the season, Phantom Thread costume designer Mark Bridges wound up taking home not just a trophy but also a jet ski for his efforts — or lack thereof — on the stage of the Dolby Theatre.
Host Jimmy Kimmel offered up a creative twist in his opening monologue at the 2018 Oscars to solve the rambling acceptance speech epidemic: The trophy winner who gave the shortest acceptance speech would be awarded a jet ski, one that Helen Mirren showed off in The Price Is Right fashion. “Why waste precious time thanking your mom when you could be taking her for the ride of her life: on a brand new jet ski!” Kimmel told the crowd. “This is not a joke. I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch.”
He was serious, indeed. The rules were displayed on monitors inside the Dolby Theatre to win the 2018 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310LX, valued at about $18,000. (Sample rules: If two winners were tied in the brevity at the microphone, they would split the cash equivalent. Times for multiple winners for the same award would be combined.)
Kimmel expressed disappointment partway through the ceremony, noting that the competition had not been so fierce thus far and that Bridges was in the lead. He then sweetened the pot by offering a stay at the Days Inn at Lake Havasu in Arizona. (Not everyone was amused, such as former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, who tweeted, “I don’t appreciate these smug Hollywood elites sneering at Lake Havasu, Arizona.) Not too many winners referenced the competition on the stage in the early going, but the jokes from trophy-holders started to pile up later in the show.
Accepting his Original Screenplay Oscar for Get Out, Jordan Peele tried to quiet the audience excitedly applauding his win, quipping that they “were going to mess up his jet ski. Soon after, while claiming his Oscar for Cinematography for Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins — winning for the first time in 14 nominations — said, “I better say something or they’re going to give me a jet ski. And I don’t see myself on a jet ski.” Gary Oldman, in winning his Best Actor trophy for The Darkest Hour, also conceded near the end of his lengthy acceptance speech, “I’m not going to win the jet ski.”
In the end, it was Bridges who claimed the prize with a 36-second acceptance speech, and as the ceremony wrapped, he was paraded around the stage on the jet ski with Mirren.
Congrats, Mark Bridges, you truly (under)delivered.