Published Feb 28, 2016For the second year in a row, the Academy Awards have failed to nominate any people of colour in its main categories. The upset launched an online movement with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, and a number of industry folks announced that they were boycotting the show. The controversy still made its way into the Dolby Theatre, however, thanks to host Chris Rock.
Walking out in a bright white suit, the veteran comedian pulled no punches at the beginning of the ceremony. "Wow, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage," he said of the show's opening clip.
Rock referred to the Oscars as the "White People's Choice Awards," adding that he likely wouldn't be there if the Academy could have voted for a host. "You'd be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now."
Rock also pointed out that there have been a number of Oscars in decades past where no black people were nominated, adding that the people were "too busy being raped and lynched" to care about something as trivial as an award show. "When your grandfather is hung from the tree, it's really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.'"
He also poked fun at Jada Pinkett Smith, who revealed she was boycotting the show — despite the fact that Will Smith wasn't even nominated for Concussion. "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties — I wasn't invited."
Rock went on to explain how Hollywood is certainly racist, but in more subtle ways than some people realize. "Is it burning cross racist? No. Is it fetch me some lemonade racist? No! It's a different type of racist." Instead, he explained that Hollywood is "sorority racist," adding, "'We like you Rhonda, but you're not a Kapa.'"
"We want the opportunities. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities. That's it. Not just once. Leo gets a great part every year. All of you guys get great parts all the time. What about the black actors?"
For more information on the Academy Awards, including a list of winners, check out the rest of Exclaim!'s Oscar coverage here.