Dear Jimmy Kimmel: You Did Not Screw Up
“I knew I would screw up. I really did.”
Kimmel’s wrap-up words following the envelope mishap in the concluding moments of the 2017 Academy Awards
Dear Jimmy Kimmel,
You did not screw up. You just did not have control over all that can happen in life’s moments, large and small, and no body does.
On the contrary: You did a masterful job orchestrating a very complex evening, one that brought laughter, joy, balance, fun — and yes love to the Oscars. In other words, you met the Goldilocks Challenge with perfection: The 2017 evening you hosted, and worked so hard to bring to life, was not too hot. It was not too cold. It was just right.
Moreover, it even was ‘just right’ in the last moments of disarray, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given a wrong envelope, and in the confusion, the Best Picture nod went to La La Land rather than to Moonlight. Despite the upheaval, every artist on stage, through their bewilderment and in the transition, met the difficulty with honesty and grace. As did the audience.
Jimmy, you will have many evenings personally and professionally to rewrite a moment when disappointment and frustration — because you gave so much and worked so hard — and the Oscars is such a tough assignment — led to self-blame and self-deprecation.
There is not one person alive who has not or will not face grave disappointment and perhaps humiliation over human error — one’s own, a member of one’s family, or that of a friend or colleague (and sometimes because one is manipulated or betrayed — which surely was not the case here). With this in mind, there are “life lessons” — gifts you can accept for yourself and share with your viewers during post-Oscar opportunities on Late Night:
1. Regardless of how hard we work to avoid mishaps, they will still happen.
2. We only have control over ourselves and the way we respond to the unplanned and unexpected.
3. We can learn from error, but beating ourselves is neither personally productive nor wise mentoring.
4. To regret is different from to self-abuse.
5. To err is human.
6. This was no violence at the Oscars. No one was hurt. There was disappointment of contenders (which was inevitable), but there was not abuse. So all is well.
7. Surely in this case to forgive is divine — especially yourself.
Be very proud, Jimmy Kimmel. However regretful, the concluding envelope mishap at the Oscars following hours of professionalism was not a screw up. See it for what it was — both human error and life lesson. And share this perspective with your viewers, as a gift for them and their kids.
My bet is that you will be invited back to host the Oscars next year. You surely deserve to be. I will not be the only one rooting for you!