Jimmy Kimmel Gets Political — and Pokes Fun at Matt Damon
After nominee Justin Timberlake kicked things off with a performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” host Jimmy Kimmel took the stage to trash talk some nominees and crack some political jokes. “This is being watched live by millions of people in 225 countries that now hate us,” Kimmel said. He also took shots at his longtime foe Matt Damon, making fun of “Chinese ponytail movie” The Great Wall and declaring, “When I first met Matt, I was the fat one.”
Meryl Streep Gets a Standing Ovation
Jimmy Kimmel used his opening monologue to celebrate Meryl Streep for her 20th Oscar nomination — and to deliver a thinly veiled dig against Donald Trump’s tweets calling her “overrated” after she criticized him at the Golden Globes. “Of all the ‘great actors’ here in Hollywood, one in particular has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances,” he said. “Meryl Streep has phoned it in from more than 50 films over the course of her lackluster career.” The host then asked Streep to stand and take a bow, leading to a standing ovation.
Katherine Johnson Makes an Appearance
The Hidden Figures cast — Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Spencer — brought a special guest to help introduce the Best Documentary category: Katherine Johnson, the real-life NASA scientist Henson portrayed in the film.
A Colorful Moana Performance
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Moana star Auli’i Cravalho took the stage to perform “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney animated adventure (which earned Miranda his first-ever Oscar nom for Best Original Song). Surrounded by dancers wielding brightly colored flags, Cravalho sang from the heart — and even kept her cool when one of the dancers accidentally whacked her in the head.
Candy Falls From the Sky and the Stars Love It
Stars get hungry at awards shows. (It’s a thing.) This year, Jimmy Kimmel helped out by giving them a sweet snack: bags of Junior Mints that fell from the ceiling, tied to parachutes. Delighted, actors like Taraji P. Henson and Michelle Williams opened their bags immediately. “Next year,” Kimmel quipped, “we should give out awards this way.” He repeated the gag later in the night, asking Lion star Sunny Pawar if he wanted more candy. When the pint-sized actor responded that he would, more candy fell from the sky as Kimmel lifted Pawar into the air, The Lion King-style.
Viola Davis Gives a Powerful Speech
Viola Davis became a first-time Oscar winner — and gave an emotional speech about the power of art. “There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered,” she told the audience. “One place, and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time: ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those bodies. The stories of the people who dream big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist, and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
The Salesman Gets Political
Iranian film The Salesman took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but director Asghar Farhadi skipped the ceremony in protest of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Instead, Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on his behalf, reading a statement from Farhadi: “I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”
Jimmy Tries a Prank!
Midway through the show, Jimmy Kimmel directed the audience’s attention to a tour bus full of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of stars in the street — visitors, he explained, they were about to surprise by bringing into the Dolby Theater to meet A-listers in person. Sure enough, the non-celebrities were shocked to be led into a room full of their favorite actors. One man named Gary led the way with his fiancée, who made a beeline for Denzel Washington, as others trailed behind them meeting and greeting many of the nominees. The gag ran just long enough to start getting uncomfortable — look at all these Normal People getting to meet the Gods of Film! — but hey, it’s not the fans’ fault they wanted to stick around.
John Legend Brings the 'City of Stars'
La La Land star and producer John Legend pulled double duty at the Oscars, taking the stage to perform the film’s two Best Original Song nominations, “Audition” and “City of Stars.” But it wasn’t just Legend’s piano-playing and pitch-perfect performance that wowed viewers; the dancers around him twirled and reenacted key scenes from the musical. One couple even floated above the rest.
Jimmy Kimmel Jabs Matt Damon
Moonlight Wins, But Only After La La Land Is Announced
In a stunning a plot twist and completely unprecedented mistake, Moonlight won Best Picture only after the La La Land team had arrived on stage to accept the award. The card Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty had as the presenters contained the card announcing Emma Stone as the winner of Best Actress — which is why, Beatty explained when he returned on stage, he looked confused when he first opened the envelope. “It said ‘Emma Stone, La La Land,’ that’s why I took such a long look at Faye and then at you,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to be funny.” The La La Land producers, however, took the win-turned-loss in stride, telling the Moonlight team that the error was real and inviting them on stage as the cast and crew filed off. Also shocked, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and producer Adele Romanski simply thanked the team, with Romanski adding that she didn’t know what to say. “I’m still not sure this was real,” she says. Well, it’s real — and host Jimmy Kimmel closed the show reminding viewers that in the end, “it’s just an awards show.” “Good news is we got to see some extra speeches,” he said. “I knew I would screw this show up, I really did… I promise I’ll never come back.”