Chris Rock Dives Into the Diversity Fray With Oscars' Opening Monologue

After a week spent trying out material at L.A.’s Comedy Club and pre-show tweets in which he stoked the crowd with “Get Ready” and a shot of him, rainbow pen in hand, working on his monologue, Chris Rock took the stage of the Dolby Theatre and immediately put to rest any fears that he would be pulling his punches.

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After the opening montage of what seemed like every movie from the past decade, Rock came on in a white tux, black pants (= diversity) and said, “I counted at least 15 black people in that montage.

“Welcome to the Academy Awards,” he continued, “otherwise known as the ‘White Peoples’ Choice Awards.’ If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t  even get this job — you’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris.”

Rock made it clearer than clear that he 1) took the diversity controversy very seriously and 2) that he thought it was slightly ridiculous,

In earlier decades, he said, there also were plenty of black people overlooked for Oscars, but back then, “we had real things to protest at the time, we were too being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.” Rock also took aim at Oscar boycotters Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, saying that while it might be unfair that Smith was overlooked for his performance in Concussion, it was also unfair “that he got paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.” As for Smith, Jada boycotting the Oscars “is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” by which he meant boycotting a party he wasn’t invited to.

Rock tread the line carefully between anger and humor, and it worked persuasively. He saved the serious bit for his closing, and it was effective because he’d clearly been having fun: “We want opportunity, we want black actors to get the same opportunities and not just once — Leo gets a great part every year!”

  1. Rock rocked Opening! Glad it’s been said, “Jada, you can’t boycott a party you weren’t invited too.” Someone please note there’s a Hispanic, a Mexican, who will probably win an Oscar! The Academy is not racist! Chris, thank you for your class & honesty.

  2. The Will Smith joke was weak. Rock should have gone for the jugular and called him out for never having a single black director on any of his films. He could then have dropped the mic and walked out.

    1. Same percentage of the population for Asians and mexicans but SOMEHOW they have not had a problem assimilating into American society without this continual forced victimization. The real question is WHY does the black culture insist on being a victim of society!!!!???!!!!

      1. Maybe that question can be answered by the victimizers. Blacks have consistently been a target in America. Mexicans also get a raw deal but more often than not they keep their mouths closed and just take the abuse.

  3. Stop calling it diversity when he’s only bitching about the lack of blacks not being included. Seriously, stop it. It’s ridiculous. If he and anyone really cared about the lack of diversity, they would be talking about Asians, Latinos, etc… His entire speech was about blacks.

    1. Rock is embarrassing to watch. I believe it is about time to put racism to rest. His actions and fellow followers only create more hostility stead of trying to create positive change in this world.

  4. The years opening was a huge insult to every single person who was nominated – and was a non-minority. For many, this will be the biggest night of their professional lives and because they re Caucasian their talent and excellence has been minimized. White shaming has got to end.

    I wonder; next year when the self imposed guilt factor sets in and every single black movie made is nominated, will the ‘Caucasian’ host make jokes about how black the academy’s have become…..and would people laugh? I think not.

    From what I’ve seen tonight, and as I thought would happen – this telecast isn’t worth watching just as most movies submitted for nomination weren’t worth watching.

    This whole black and white presenter thing that they’re doing is total pandering to this racial bullshit. I guess that we’ve got to have one black actor, and one white actor, announcing the categories or the Academy isn’t inclusive. This is embarrassing.

    And the fucking stedicam moving from side to side shooting the big screens behind the presenters is nauseating.

    1. You have to decide if the nominees are talented or excellent or if most film submitted weren’t even worth watching…

  5. if by brilliant you mean talking about diversity only in terms of African-American actors without mentioning Latinos, Asians, LGBT, etc…uh, then I guess so. Maybe that was the ‘fat’ Chris was cutting out in the pic above?

  6. It’s really not about “diversity” at all, is it? I have yet to hear anything about Asians or Hispanics, nor have I heard who they believe should be stripped of their nominations so that Will Smith and others could be nominated.

  7. Shheeeesssshhh.
    Rock is one f n smart f n comic. His humor is so great it stabs at the wounds of humanity it makes me cry that some one can speak truth and be funny

  8. Diversity is about more than just blacks. It includes Asians, Latinos, multiracial people, etc. These black “activists” use the rhetoric of inclusion and equality but only want more opportunities for blacks — i.e. themselves — and not for other underrepresented groups too. That’s just pure hypocrisy, and it’s this douchey behavior that trivializes the issue of discrimination and lack of representation in media. Concussion wasn’t good — critics and audiences didn’t care much for it, and it made less than $50 million at the box office. By the way, 12 Years a Slave won 3 Oscars, including Best Picture, 3 years ago so stop complaining about how blacks aren’t being recognized. Lets not forget that 12 Years a Slave was distributed by Fox Searchlight, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also owns Fox News, which has no qualms about voicing ignorant views about minorities. How do the black filmmakers of 12 Years a Slave reconcile the fact that their film made money for Murdoch, a man who has negative views of minorities and who employs some people with such views? Awkward… They couldn’t shop their film elsewhere? Nobody in town wanted their film? Talk about black Hollywood hypocrisy, right? If certain blacks are going to complain about racism, then they should practice what they preach and treat everyone fairly…

  9. Talking about the Oscar controversy is a LOT different than making a comedic routine from it. Chris didn’t make it an interesting or funny topic. The opening went for the topic that couldn’t be ignored but the lack of wit was more and more evident as it went on. The failed Stacy Dash joke showed just how far away from comedy Chris Rock was. Kevin Hart enjoyed it though.

    Worse than the comedy fail was the diversity fail. #OscarsSoWhite was the trend because there was a lack of Latino and Asian nominees and yet Chris Rock made the topic so narrow.

    1. Apparently it escaped your notice that Best Director and Best Cinematography went to Mexicans. And repeat winners at that.

        1. Emmanuel Lubeski may be white, but Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu isn’t. his complexion is not as dark as many mexicans but his complexion is definitely NOT white.

  10. Outside of the big categories people like on television, and outside of African-Americans, there was diversity at the Oscars. I heard a lot of foreign accent acceptance speeches on skin that wasn’t white from the stage tonight. There’s a lot of work to be done on race, but I don’t know if the Oscars would place in the top ten of where to fight it next.

  11. I always thought that Blacks were too proud a people to let the likes of Jada Pinkett, Spike Lee, and Al Sharpton whine about not getting a trophy. They ruined the night for the people in the industry who were more deserving this particular year. Shameful.

      1. Possibly because there is not a lack of diversity in the nba or nfl. Those are sports that rely heavily on talent that cannot be denied. The Oscars relies on talent that is judged. Meaning I may think Tom Hanks did a great job but most other people think that he did not. In sports you are recruited based on numbers and physical abilities. NBA is extremely diverse. Are most of the best and most popular players black??? Yes. But the league is full of foreign players and other race players including white. The fact of the matter is you cannot compare sports with something that is judged by opinion. It is widely excepted that Denzel Washington is a great actor but everyone may not feel that way. Acting talent is a matter of opinion. Sports talent is measured based on numbers not opinion. So comparing the oscars to a sport is apples and oranges

  12. I just did not enjoy the constant jabs and whining. I saw more bkacks than whites ti tell the truth. Quit your crybaby routine. When a white performer appears on BET I will capitulate.

    1. What a lot of the black actors in Hollywood (not all) are uncomfortable about is the fact that for 2 years straight now that all of the acting nominees were white. Not necessarily crying for a win like back when Denzel and Halle Berry got their charity Oscars. I understand that the industry is full of mainly white actors and actresses. Chris Rock was bringing up points about it but joking about it also because he thinks it is ridiculous for some of the black actors to feel that way. But at the same time he mentioned that blacks need more opportunity to get good roles in order to be considered. I in fact hate that most of the Oscar worthy movies have to be dramatic in most cases or based on true stories. I believe best pictures should be won on original writings not a re-telling of a real story. Some of those should win also but it seems those fills win every year. I don’t know what Oscars you were watching that you saw more blacks than whites because while there were blacks in the audience 95% of the audience were not black at least not in the traditional sense. But in case you didnt notice Chris Rock and Kevin Heart were against the boycott

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