Chris Rock opened the 88th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night with a monologue that likely lived up to expectations.
Amidst the controversy around #OscarSoWhite, Rock was expected to address Hollywood’s diversity issues in his opening. He hit the ground running with a zinger about the Oscars being the “White People’s Choice Awards,” and how if the host was chosen through nominations, Neil Patrick Harris would be hosting.
It will be interesting to see how this monologue is received from a little distance. The mostly-white audience’s reaction was difficult to read with many of the attendees seemingly unsure how to respond. Rock absolutely had some high points skewering Hollywood’s racism but he also suggested that #OscarsSoWhite grew out of black people not having more important things to protest about. “Everything’s not sexism. Everything’s not racism,” he said.
Here’s his full monologue:
Woo! Man, I counted at least 15 black people on that montage.
Hey! Well, I’m here at the Academy Awards. Otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.
But this is — this is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host, because you have all this controversy, the no — no black nominees, you know?
And people are like, Chris, you should boycott, Chris, you should quit, you should quit.
You know, how come it’s only unemployed people that tell you to quit something, you know? No one with a job ever tells you to quit.
So, I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard.
But I realized, they’re going to have the Oscars anyway. They’re not going to cancel the Oscars because I quit. You know? And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart. Okay? I don’t need that. Kev — Kev right there. Kev make movies fast. Every month. Porno stars don’t make movies that fast.
Now, the thing is, why are we protesting — the big question, why this Oscars? Why this Oscars, you know?
It’s the 88th Academy Awards. It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means — this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. Okay? You got to figure that it happened in the ‘50s, in the ‘60s. You know, in the ‘60s, one of those years, Sidney didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure — I’m sure there were no black nominees, some of those years.
Say 62 or 63 and black people did not protest. Why? Because we have real things to protest at the time. You know? We have real things to protest. You know? Too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. You know, when you — when your Grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.
But what happened this year? What happened? People went mad, you know? Spike got mad and Jada went mad and Will and everybody went mad, you know like — Jada got mad, Jada says she’s not coming, protesting, I’m like — doesn’t she have a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited. Oh, that’s — it’s not an invitation I would turn down. But I understand, I — I’m not hating. I understand you’re mad. Jada is mad. Her man was not nominated. I get it. I get it. You get mad. Said it’s not fair that Will was this good and doesn’t get nominated. You’re right. It is also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West okay? Okay?
You know, this year, the Oscars, things are going to be a little different. Things are going to be a little different at the Oscars. This year, in the In Memorium package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot on their way to the movies. Yes. Yes. I said it. All right?
Hey, if you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories. That’s what you need. You need to have black categories. You already do it 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 — come on! There’s no reason! It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. You know, Robert de Niro’s never said, “I better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up.” No. Not at all, man. 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. This is Wanda’s 18th Black Oscar.”
But here’s the real question. The real question everybody wants to know, everybody wants to know, in the world, is Hollywood racist? Is Hollywood racist? You know, that’s — that’s a — you know, you got to go at that at the right way. Is it burning cross racist? No. Is it fetch me some lemonade racist? No, no. It’s a different type of racist.
Now, I remember one night I was at a fundraiser for President Obama, a lot of you were there, and, you know, it’s me and all of Hollywood. And all the, you know, it’s all of us there and there’s about four black people there, me, let’s see, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove, you know, the usual suspects, right? And every black actor that wasn’t working. Needless to say, Kevin Hart was not there, okay? So, at some point, you get to take a picture with the President.
And as they’re setting up the picture, you get a little moment with the president, I’m like, “Mr. President, you see all these writers and producers and actors? They don’t hire black people. And they’re the nicest white people on earth. They’re liberals.” CHEESE.
That’s right. Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist. But it isn’t the racist you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like — “We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.” That’s how Hollywood is.
But things are changing. Things are changing. Yeah, we got a black Rocky this Year. Some people call it Creed, I call it Black Rocky. And that’s a big — that’s an unbelievable statement, I mean, because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. Rocky’s a science fiction movie. There are things that happened in Star Wars that are more believable than things that happened in Rocky.
We’re here to honor actors. We’re here to honor film. And there’s a lot of snubs. A lot of snubs. One of the biggest snubs no one’s talking about, my favorite actor in the world is Paul Giamatti. I believe he’s the greatest actor in the world. Think about what he’s done. Last year, he’s in 12 Years a Slave, hates black people. This year, he’s in Straight Outta Compton, loves black people. Last year, he’s whooping Lupita, this year, he’s crying at Eazy-E’s funeral. That’s range. Ben Affleck can’t do that.
But what I’m trying to say is, you know, it’s not about boycotting anything, it’s just, we want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it. That’s it. You know? Just — you know, not just once, you know? Leo gets a great part every year. And, you know, and — everybody — all you guys get great parts all the time.
But what about the black actors? Look at Jamie Foxx. Jamie Foxx, one of the best actors in the world, man. Jamie foxx — he is. Jamie Foxx was so good in Ray, that they went to the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles, like, we don’t need two of these. No, man.
But the big — you know, everything is not about race, man. Another big thing tonight is, you’re not allowed — somebody told me this, you’re not allowed to ask women what they’re wearing anymore. It’s a whole thing. You know, Ask Her More. You have to ask her more. Now — you know, like, you ask the men more. Hey, everything’s not sexism, everything’s not racism.
They ask the men more, because the men are all wearing the same outfits, okay Every guy is wearing the exact same thing. You know, if George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on and a swan coming out his ass, somebody would go, “What you wearing, George?”
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