Jimmy Kimmel on What Happened Onstage After Oscars Snafu, the Wrap Joke That Never Happened

Jimmy Kimmel_Warren Beatty_Best Picture Card - Publicity - H 2017
Eddy Chen/ABC

The host of the now infamous 89th Academy Awards also revealed how he messed with Warren Beatty, telling the veteran actor he was in "trouble."

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel has revealed details on the wrap joke that never was and how he inadvertently got dragged into a post-show "huddle" with producers and Academy execs to find out what exactly caused the epic mix-up during the best picture presentation

Speaking on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Kimmel, in his first post-Oscars interview, outlined how the show was really supposed to end before the confusion caused by the best picture flub. "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 [Matt 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 (at the Emmys he walked onstage after we lost our category)."

He continued: "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 won and Kenneth won. 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." 

But the joke didn't come to pass as chaos ensued onstage. "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. 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 said that as he walked up to the stage there were lots of people, the producers, accountants, stage managers and Academy execs all trying to figure out what had happened, but he saw the funny side. "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 added: "I didn’t know if my mic was on. 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." 

Speaking directly about the Moonlight team, Kimmel said: "Nobody wanted to make a speech. It was so unclear what was happening. They kind of absorbed the fact they had won but nobody took the next step of saying, like, 'Oh I guess now we have to make a speech now that we won,' until Denzel Washington was literally waving at me and he’s yelling 'Barry' at me and pointing ... [Barry Jenkins] the director of Moonlight is behind me and he wanted me to get him ... So I grabbed Barry and I pushed him towards to the mic." 

Kimmel also talked about the immediate aftermath and how he inadvertently got included in the post-show huddle with the producers and Academy execs. "Afterward, I somehow ended up in the huddle trying to figure out what was going on. There was the producers, Mike de Luca and Jennifer Todd are the producers of the show, then there’s [Dawn Hudson] and [Cheryl Boone Isaacs] who run the Academy and they were trying to figure out what had happened. And for some reason, I became a part of that with Warren Beatty."

Kimmel says he was "screwing around" while the huddle was going on and told Beatty he "was in trouble."

Speaking to Beatty, Kimmel said: "There was only one way to handle this. You need to come on my show tomorrow night and we’ll explain what happened. He said, 'Well that sounds great for you, but I think I’m just going to wait a while.'" 

Kimmel also provided more details on the envelopes after the fiasco, saying that Beatty made a point of holding on to them. "He did a very smart thing, and I was impressed by this. He kept those envelopes. He would not hand them to anybody, he showed them to people, but he would not hand them over. the two envelopes, he kept both of them. Because that’s the evidence, that’s the smoking gun. As soon as you give those envelopes up who knows who switches what."