There was a lot of pressure on Chris Rock before the 2016 Oscars to address the diversity issues facing the Academy. Rest assured that Rock, often cited as one of the greatest living stand-up comedians, left no one unscathed - from the night's nominees to boycotters like Jada Pinkett Smith, even the Academy itself.
The host started by putting the controversy in the proper historical perspective. "We had real things to protest [in the '60s]. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer," Rock said. "When your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it's really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short."
"Jada [Pinkett Smith] boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties," he quipped. "I wasn't invited." "She says it's not fair that Will [Smith] was this good and he wasn't nominated. It's also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West."
While Rock was able to draw laughs from the crowd about the serious topic, he still took the opportunity to bluntly honest about the situation. "Is it 'burning cross' racist? No. Is it 'fetch me some lemonade' racist? No. Is Hollywood racist? You're damn right Hollywood is racist," he said. "It's just the [racism] that you've grown accustomed to. It's sorority racist. It's like, 'We like you, Wanda [Sykes], but you're not a Kappa.' That's how Hollywood is."
Rock wrapped up his monologue with the most succinct description of why there's so much outrage about the white nominees at the Oscars for the second year in a row. "We want opportunities. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That's it, not just once." he said as 2014 Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejioforclapped enthusiastically in the audience. "[Leonardo DiCaprio] gets a great part every year. All you guys get great parts all the time, but what about the black actors?"
What did you think of Rock's opening monologue?
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