Jimmy Kimmel finally got his chance to host the Oscars and it sure turned out to be one of the most memorable ever, if for the wrong reasons. The ceremony concluded with an ending that no screenwriter would ever concoct: Warren Beatty announced that “La La Land” had won Best Picture when that prize had really gone to “Moonlight.” Kimmel handled that snafu with grace and charm, capping off an evening in which he ruled over the Dolby Theater stage.
He only got this gig in December, a bit later than the announcement is usually made. That led to much speculation that he was not the first pick of rookie Oscar producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd. They only signed on in November, leaving little time for the preparation involved in putting together this mammoth production. But with Kimmel at the helm, they were in good hands.
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1. Opening monologue
After graciously thanking Justin Timberlake for opening the show with a rollicking performance of his Oscar-nominated song “Can’t Stop That Feeling!” from “Trolls,” Kimmel tossed out the first of many barbs by telling the one-time boy band member that NSYNC would be smart to let him rejoin the group. He then ever so gently punctured the egos of many of the nominees, including eventual winners Damien Chazelle, Casey Affleck and Emma Stone.
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2. Ribbing Meryl Streep
Kimmel made merry with the actress, who had extended her record to a jaw-dropping 20 nominations with her Best Actress bid for “Florence Foster Jenkins.” After railing against Donald Trump in her Golden Globes acceptance speech, the president responded by calling her “overrated.” Kimmel had the crowd get to their feet to salute this Hollywood icon.
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3. Heaven sent food
2014 Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres may have had pizza delivered to the hungry crowd but only a lucky few got slices. Kimmel made sure that everyone seated in the lower level of the Dolby Theater got fed with strategically timed drops of movie candy and donuts.
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4. Ultimate tour bus stop
Ten lucky folks on a three-hour tour of Hollywood found themselves in the front row of the theater, shaking hands with the likes of Streep and two-time Oscar champ Denzel Washington. Kimmel used this as a chance to extend his faux feud with Matt Damon, as he warned these sightseers to avoid that jerk sitting behind Affleck.
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5. Best Picture mix-up
Kimmel immediately did what any gracious host would do and took the blame for this mix-up, trying to lighten the tense mood with a joke or three. While Beatty was clearly in the wrong as he opened an envelope marked “Actress in a Leading Role,” Kimmel was quick to say it was he who screwed up the Oscars, as he knew he would.