Jimmy Kimmel made good on his totally random and hilarious promise to give a jet ski to the Oscar winner with the shortest speech at the the 90th annual Academy Awards, gifting Phantom Thread costume designer Mark Bridges the prize. Regrettably, the grown-up water sports toy doesn't actually come with Helen Mirren, who was sexily showcasing the jet ski when Kimmel introduced the bit like the coolest Price is Right segement ever. She emerged from the stage riding it alongside Bridges in the end.
Kimmel delights in catching the celebs at the Oscars off guard with disorienting stunts — remember that busload of people who surprised everyone (including themselves) at the ceremony on live TV last year? — but as crazy as the promise was, some stars took it seriously. Sam Rockwell, first winner of the night for Best Supporting Actor in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, set the tone. "Run that clock Jimmy, I want to get that ski jet or whatever that was," he said in a speech that lasted 1:29 according to Jimmy's stopwatch.
You had to hand it to him though: Kimmel's bit was a fun, not-so-subtle way of acknowledging that the Oscars can be a slog that seems to go on forever — and that the show is desperately trying to modernize for a new age as he alluded to in his monologue. He showed he was NOT playing about keeping those speeches short by referencing brevity again and again through the night, starting with an explanation of what would happen if a speech ran long. "You won't hear music, you'll hear this," he said, leading to Lakeith Stanfield of Get Out running onto stage screaming, "Get out!" About mid-way through the ceremony, he sweetened the pot with a trip from Burbank to what looked like a 2-star hotel Days Inn near Lake Havasu in Arizona, which no celeb would ever consider.
But despite Kimmel's promise, the music did in fact play, shooing off the Visual Effects winners for Blade Runner 2049 when they went on too long. And poor James Ivory looked positively flustered opening a piece of paper to give his acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name, terrified of hearing the music play before could finish. (It didn't.) Nor did it play for Jordan Peele, who also took the challenge seriously as cheers for his historic Best Original Screenplay win for Get Out thundered throughout the room. "You guys are going to mess up my jet ski," he quipped. Gary Oldman knew he wouldn't win it either, breaking up his heartfelt speech for winning Best Actor in Darkest Hour with an acknowledgment he was going long. In the end, it'll be costume designer Mark Bridges who gets to unwind on the weekends with the jet ski and from the look of it, he got a safety vest to go with it too.