90th Academy Awards - Show

Helen Mirren (left) accompanies Mark Bridges, winner for the Oscar for best costume design for "Phantom Thread," as he wins a Lincoln-built Jet Ski for having the shortest acceptance speech at the Oscars last Sunday.

Lincoln played a starring role in last Sunday's Academy Awards, and most people probably had no idea.

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel started a running gag before the first award was presented that the Oscar  winner with the shortest acceptance speech would win a Jet Ski personal watercraft.

“Why waste precious time thanking your mom when you could be taking her for the ride of her life: on a brand new Jet Ski!” Kimmel said after British actress Helen Mirren showed off the $18,000 watercraft in game-show style. “This is not a joke. I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch.”

What most viewers, even those watching in Lincoln, probably didn't know is that the Jet Ski sitting on the Dolby Theater stage in Hollywood was made at the Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing plant in northwest Lincoln.

Kawasaki has been making Jet Skis here since 1975, one year after the plant opened, and it's the only Kawasaki facility in the world that makes the watercraft.

Jason Hellbusch, senior manager at Kawasaki's Lincoln plant, said the product placement was orchestrated by Kawasaki's marketing arm, which is based in Foothill Ranch, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

"It was really nice to see product built here featured so prominently on such a big stage," Hellbusch said in an email.

The winner of the Jet Ski was Mark Bridges, who won an Oscar for his work designing costumes for the movie "Phantom Thread." Bridges' acceptance speech lasted just 36 seconds.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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