The moment Jimmy Kimmel knew something was wrong at the Oscars
NEW YORK — Jimmy Kimmel had plans to play a joke on Matt Damon at the end of the Oscars.
Instead, it was Damon who told Kimmel that something had gone horribly wrong.
Kimmel spoke to “The Bill Simmons Podcast” for his first interview since the biggest blunder in the history of the Academy Awards — the mistaken announcement that “La La Land” had won best picture instead of “Moonlight.”
Kimmel described his idea for a gag to close the show.
“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.”
While Kimmel was next to Damon, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were on stage, holding what turned out to be the wrong envelope and awkwardly working up to the announcement.
“We’re watching and waiting for the camera,” Kimmel said, “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 walked on stage and made a couple of jokes in the moment, even poking fun at Steve Harvey, who famously flubbed the winner of the 2015 Miss University pageant.
But he said at first it wasn't a great moment for humor "because people wanted to know what was going on. I didn't know what was going on."
The two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants at the center of the fiasco, Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, won't work the Oscars again, a source with knowledge of the matter told CNNMoney on Wednesday.
Cullinan handed Beatty and Dunaway the wrong envelope. It remains unclear how that happened. PwC released a statement Monday evening saying that they were taking "full responsibility" for the mistake and acknowledged that they "failed the Academy."