Although Oscars are usually awarded for achievements in serious drama, that doesn’t mean we all can’t have a few laughs while the little gold men are being doled out. The 89th Academy Awards’ host, Jimmy Kimmel, kicked things off by trying to bury the hatchet with Matt Damon, revealing that Damon gave up the chance to star in Manchester by the Sea. As Kimmel revealed to the Dolby Theatre crowd, “It’s nominated for six Oscars, including Lead Actor, and he could have taken that lead actor part for himself. But he didn’t. He gave that role to Casey Affleck, his childhood friend. He handed an Oscar-caliber role over to his friend and made a Chinese ponytail movie instead.”
Presenters Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman did their best to stay cool under the enormous pressure but may have lost the war with their nerves.
Later, Kimmel surprised a tour bus of unsuspecting sightseers with a front-row view of the Academy Awards, and Oscar winner Denzel Washington jumped in to make an engaged couple’s dreams come true by marrying them. Kimmel insisted, “He’s Denzel, so it’s legal.”
To prevent the four-hour award show from getting dull for the younger actors in the house, Kimmel grabbed Sunny Pawar for a Lion–Lion King crossover.
Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox rode up in style to celebrate Back to the Future, and Rogen was quick to gush about the experience: “I’m at the Oscars with Michael J. Fox, a DeLorean, while wearing future shoes. All I have to do is sing the ‘Schuyler Sisters’ song from Hamilton and I will have completed my entire bucket list.”
But Kimmel’s job is never complete until he has convinced another round of celebrities to read some Mean Tweets — the highlight being a tweet read by the star of 2015’s Best Picture nominee Whiplash: “Miles Teller has the face of a guy who would request ‘Gangnam Style’ at a wedding where he doesn’t know either the bride or groom.” Maybe Teller would even drum along to the song.