In Jimmy Kimmel’s first interview since “La La Land” was erroneously named Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, the host revealed what would’ve been his final Matt Damon joke of the night if it hadn’t been for the flub.
“The plan was the Best Picture is announced; they make a speech,” Kimmel said on The Bill Simmons Podcast Wednesday night. “I was assuming the Best Picture was not going to be ‘Manchester by the Sea.’ And I said to Matt, ‘If it’s not ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ I’m gonna be sitting next to you. This will be my revenge for the Emmys.’
“Because at the Emmys, he walked onstage after we lost our category. So I’d be sitting next to him, and it would start on me, and I’d start wrapping the show up. The camera would widen, we’d see Matt was sitting next to me, and I would say, ‘Wow, unbelievable, Casey won and Kenneth won and really only one person didn’t win tonight, and it’s you for this movie.’ It would have been a nice little button to the whole night.”
But instead — as the whole world knows — it didn’t really pan out the way Kimmel thought it would. Not only didn’t “Manchester” win, neither did “La La Land.”
“We’re watching, we’re waiting for the camera to come to us, and we’re, you know, concentrating,” Kimmel continued, while sat in Damon’s wife’s seat.
“Suddenly, the stage manager wanders up on stage, which is never supposed to happen. So, I really don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t hear very well, so Matt hears somebody say something to the effect of, ‘They had the wrong movie for Best Picture.’ So he says to me, ‘I think they announced the wrong Best Picture.’ I looked at Matt and I said, ‘Well, I guess I better go up there.’ I walked up on stage, and all hell is breaking loose.”
On Sunday, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced “La La Land” as Best Picture and the film’s three producers were giving their acceptance speeches. It wasn’t until they were wrapping up that someone noticed the wrong film had been given the biggest prize of the night — and the actual winner was “Moonlight.”
There was a commotion on stage while people were trying to fix what had happened and the producers of “La La Land” graciously handed over the award.
“I told Warren Beatty he was in trouble,” Kimmel added. “I told Warren, ‘There’s only one way to handle this. You need to come on my show tomorrow night, and we’ll explain what happened.’ He said, ‘That sounds great for you, but I think I’m just gonna wait awhile.’ And I said, ‘I’m gonna tell you right now I think that’s a mistake. Speaking for myself, it would be great if you were on the show, but I’m saying I think you need to handle this immediately.’ He didn’t really think that was a great idea. But he did a very smart thing. He kept those envelopes. He would not hand them to anybody. He showed people, but he would not hand them over. He kept both of them because that’s the smoking gun there. As soon as you give those envelopes up, who knows which is what, and what happened? The other smart thing is that he went to the microphone to clear things up.”
Another thing that contributed to the Best Picture flub, said Kimmel, was the fact that it was really hard to see the teleprompter.
“[Dunaway and Beatty] came to two different rehearsals because it was hard to see the teleprompter, so that definitely was part of the issue,” he said.
Listen to the podcast below.