Clad in white blazer and black trousers, Chris Rock came out to great applause from the audience. Rock hosted Oscars back in 2005 but this time, he came to make a point. He had been posting a lot of pictures and tweets keeping his fans updated about the routine he would be presenting as he was working from scratch on it. While his peers asked him to boycott Oscars, he decided to participate and talk about the problem.
As he entered, he said “Man I counted at least 15 black people on that montage!” Setting the tone for the ceremony, he addressed his audience in the following manner:
“Welcome to the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the white people’s choice awards! You know, if they nominated presenters, I wouldn’t get this job!”
As a comedian, he used his skills to full use. He talked about the boycott in a jovial manner. While explaining why didn’t boycott the award ceremony, he said “How come all these unemployed people tell you to quit things!”
He might have joked around the #OscarsSoWhite controversy but each and every pun and joke by Rock made the point we all missed. While explaining why is it now that the people from within and without the fraternity are protesting against the ‘whiteness’ of the Oscars he said,
“Why are we protesting this oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole ‘no black nominees’ thing has happened at least 71 other times.”
He said black people didn’t protest before because they had “real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who wins best cinematographer.”
“What happened this year? People went mad! Everybody went mad!”
He directly addressed the issue of racism in Hollywood:
“Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right it’s racist! Hollywood is sorority racist – We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa!”
He suggested that their should be seperate black categories like “Back Best Friend” referring to failed recognition of Michael B. Jordon’s brilliant work in the movie Creed and also to the larger debate drawing our attention to the fact that most of the movies have artist of color in a supporting role than a leading role. He extended his joke to Stallone’s megahit “Rocky” to which Stallone himself burst into laughter,
“Things are changing, we’ve got a black Rocky this year!And this is outstanding because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes – it’s a science fiction movie!”
He ended his witty monologue with a serious point. When Viola Davis won an Emmy Award, she said that you cannot win an award for a work which is not there and she too emphasised on providing ‘opportunities’ to black artists. Chris Rock mentioned the same:
“It’s not about boycotting, we just want more opportunities. Leo gets a great part every year, all of you guys get great parts all the time. What about the black actors?”
From an attire to the speech, Rock’s intention was much clear and also necessary. If he won’t talk about it at the stage where it needs to be addressed then, who would?
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