With all the pre-Oscar buzz surrounding the predominantly white nominee base at the 88th Academy Awards, host Chris Rock brilliantly handled the “elephant in the room” in his trademarked comedic fashion.
In his opening monologue, Rock referred to the time-honored Hollywood ceremony as the “White People’s Choice Awards.”
Rock lightly jab at Jada Pinkett Smith, who boycotted this year’s awards show, stating that she likely would not have been invited anyway.
“We want opportunity,” Rock pointedly noted.
“If you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories…
You already do with men and women. Think about it — there’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting… It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. You know, Robert De Niro never said, ‘I’d better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up…
If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories like, ‘Best Black Friend.’ That’s right — and the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes.”
The comedian teased the telecast as a “blackout,” while dubbing the Academy Awards as “the White BET Awards”. With zero black actors nominated, the Oscars were primed and deserving of Rock’s blistering monologue.
“This year will be remembered, rightly, for its thorny racial politics and for the way that Rock, probably as well as anyone could, held the industry to account on its biggest night.” the New Yorker’s Michael Schulman said.