Chris Rock's opening monologue launched at the Academy's diversity issue head on; cutting no corners in his full frontal assault on the controversy surrounding the #OscarsSoWhite protests.
Asking why it had become such an issue in 2016, he simply stated: "Why are we protesting this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this no black nominees thing happened 71 other times."
"You got to figure that it happened in the 50s, 60s. One of those years, Sidney Poitier didn’t put out a movie. … Black people didn’t protest, because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. When you’re hanging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary short."
Elsewhere, he confronted the calls for him to boycott as host by stating: "I thought about quitting. I thought about it really hard. And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart."
"Is Hollywood racist? You got to go at that the right way. Is it burning cross racist?" he commented on the larger issues of diversity. "It’s a different type of racist. The other night, I was at a fundraiser for president Obama – a lot of you were there. There were four black people there: me, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove."
"The usual suspects. … At some point you get to take a picture with the president," he continued. "I’m like, Mr. President, you see all these writers, producers, and actors; they don’t hire black people – and they’re the nicest white people on Earth. You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, we like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa."
"We got a black Rocky this year. Some people call it Creed; I call it Black Rocky." he later stated, referencing what many believed to be the film's snub from the Best Picture category. "That’s an unbelievable statement, because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. Rocky is a science fiction movie. There are things that happened in Star Wars more believable than what happened in Rocky."
Elsewhere Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones, and Tracy Morgan aided Rock in ripping into the lack of diversity in this year's nominees; seeing themselves edited into the likes of Joy, The Revenant, The Martian, and The Danish Girl.
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