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Was Oscars mix-up a Kimmel prank?

Conspiracy theories fly over why "La La Land" was mistakenly awarded Best Picture.
Jimmy Kimmel on stage at the 89th Academy Awards on Feb. 26.Eddy Chen/ABC via Getty Images

There have been plenty of award show blunders in recent history, like John Travolta's messy introduction of the "wickedly talented"Idina Menzel, Jennifer Lawrence's slippery feet on stage and on the red carpet, and Kanyebombing Taylor Swift's acceptance speech.

But none, arguably, have been as painful to watch as Sunday night's mix-up, when "La La Land" was awarded Best Picture, even though the real winner was "Moonlight."

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PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global accounting firm long in charge of the Oscar ballots took the blame for Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway's blunder on stage, saying the announcers were apparently given the envelope and card for best actress — which Emma Stone won for her role in "La La Land" — which led to the confusion.

But some viewers weren't impressed, and took to Twitter to float conspiracy theories on who is really to blame. Their No. 1 target? Host Jimmy Kimmel.


Kimmel is famous for his pranks. The late-night host loves to punk his viewers, from releasing YouTube videos of parents pretending to eat their kids' Halloween candy, to the twerking girl who set herself on fire.

So it's not out of the realm of possibility that this is Kimmel's next practical joke, except on live television and more shocking than funny, right?

Especially after Stone revealed that she had been holding her Best Actress card the entire time.

Asked backstage what she thought of the on-stage mix-up, Stone said she loved "Moonlight," and thought it was "one of the best films of all time."

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She continued: "I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time...I don't mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. I'm not sure what happened..."

Variety notes that there are duplicates of each card prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, however, and they are handed to presenters just before they walk out on stage.

Even if it was an honest mistake — and judging by Beatty's reaction, it probably was — Twitter conspiracy theorists aren't letting go of Kimmel, or Matt Damon, who has been implicated in the prank, too.

The funny guys' longtime prank war became the topic of Ellen Degeneres' show last week, when Degeneres — and prankster herself — asked Damon what he thought of Kimmel hosting the award show.

"There's going to be hundreds of millions of people watching and hoping that he messes up," Damon said. "I'm going to be there a few rows deep hoping that he messes up. I might even throw things at him."


Even Kimmel himself assured everyone last year, when it was announced he'd be hosting the Academy Awards, that the gig wasn't a prank.


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