Jimmy Kimmel has already offered a brief play-by-play of what it was like in the immediate moments after La La Land was incorrectly declared Best Picture instead of the rightful winner, Moonlight, at this year’s Oscars ceremony, but now the Oscar host is expounding on what exactly occurred onstage and behind the scenes during the whole debacle. In an interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Kimmel explained how he and his best frenemy, Matt Damon, watched the initial action of La La Land’s team accepting the honor from the audience, as the duo was originally supposed to end the show with a silly comedy bit. “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 said. “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.’”
Kimmel rushed to the stage to better understand the situation at hand, and withheld from breaking out a few jokes to alleviate the tension. “I walk up onstage and all hell is breaking loose, and people are mad and confused. I mean I feel bad for them, but I can’t help but laugh because it’s such an uncomfortable situation,” he explained. “I didn’t know if my mic was on. I didn’t know if people could hear me. People were very confused. It wasn’t a great moment for a joke because people wanted to know what was going on. I didn’t know what was going on.” After the Moonlight team accepted their award and gave short speeches, Kimmel then found himself in a “huddle” backstage with numerous Academy executives and producers to get to the bottom of what occurred. He insisted to everyone that this wasn’t part of a prank gone sour, which he reiterated again on the podcast: “Hold on a minute, I’m just going to make one thing very, very clear right now that this was not a … if this was a prank, I’m not in on it. I’m one of the victims here.”
Though Kimmel originally believed Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway misread the envelope due to vision problems — “they came to two different rehearsals because it was hard to see the teleprompter,” Kimmel said — the culprits ended up being the two PwC accountants who were in charge of handling the envelopes. Still, Kimmel had another idea of how the whole ordeal could’ve played out:
You know what they could’ve done? They could’ve just went with it. I don’t know what I would’ve done in that situation, but the thought would definitely cross my mind of just letting La La Land have the Best Picture. It was the favorite, it’s not just it would’ve been a huge surprise. Nobody would’ve been, ‘What, what the hell happened?’
Now that’s a bold move.