Politically Incorrect Oscar Jokes Through the Years

5:10 PM 2/26/2016

by THR staff

Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal are just a few of the famous names who have poked eyebrow-raising fun for the sake of a laugh at the Academy Awards.

Bob Hope and Billy Crystal - H 2016
A.M.P.A.S. / Photofest; Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  • Bob Hope (1955)

    Bob Hope: "The winners will take home an Oscar. The losers will all be presented with monogramed do-it-yourself suicide kits."

  • Bob Hope (1960)

    Bob Hope: “There’s a lot of pictures half shot. One Western picture is hung up and it’s quite a situation. There’s 150 Indians crouched behind a boulder at Corganville, and no one has told them that John Wayne isn’t coming.”

  • Bob Hope (1968)

    Bobe Hope: "Welcome to the Academy Awards, or as they're known at my house, Passover."

  • Bob Hope (1975)

    Bob Hope: "Marlon Brando won’t be here this year. The Indians are holding him for the balloon payment. He gave them a little land with a mortgage on it."

  • Richard Pryor (1977)

    Richard Pryor: “I’m here tonight to explain why no black people will ever be nominated for anything. Black people love to act. We can dry at the drop of a hat, or laugh. These are some of the things black people can do. We’re also going to stop entertaining. That will show you. We refuse to be in show business altogether. We are quitting. Then see who sings and dances for you. You will have to listen to Lawrence Welk forever. Try to boogaloo to that! But seriously, when we cut to the audience and you win we don’t want to see you mouthing (Pryor mouths ‘holy shit’) or anything like that. This show is going out to 75 million people. None of them are black. We don’t even know how to vote. There’s 3,349 people in the voting thing and only 2 black people.”

  • Johnny Carson (1979)

    Johnny Carson: “Before we begin tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say for the record that I am in favor of using more Native Americans and other minorities in motion pictures. I am against polluting the oceans of the world. I am for every nationality having its own homeland. I am against whacking baby seals on the head and am for saving whales.”


  • Jane Fonda and Robin Williams (1986)

    Jane Fonda: “Special hello and congratulations to the people of the Philippines!”

    Robin Williams (in mock accent): “Come on down, some of these shoes have never been worn, come on down. You come on down you get two pairs of shoes and one black bra free, come on down.”

  • Billy Crystal (1992)

    Billy Crystal: "We also have the youngest writer/director ever nominated, John Singleton. John of course directed and wrote Boyz n the Hood, the David Duke story."


  • Billy Crystal (1993)

    When talking about The Crying Game in his opening monologue, Crystal said, “That big scene proved one thing – white men can jump. Talk about a stocking stuffer, I’ll tell you that right now.”

    He later joked, "But it has been a great year for all kinds of movies, like big Hollywood extravaganzas like A Few Good Men, the J. Edgar Hoover story. Talk about a best-kept secret. Hoover was the master of disguise, really for seven years he was on the Andy Griffith Show as Aunt Bee. Gotta admire him, not only did he catch Dillinger, he was the lady in red."

  • David Letterman (1994)

    Listing off his top 10 list, David Letterman joked, "Signs the movie you’re watching will not win an Academy Award. Number six: It’s a beautifully made documentary about two kids in the inner-city trying to realize their dream of playing professional basketball.“

  • Whoopi Goldberg (2001)

    Whoopi Goldberg: "Can you believe this year? Can you believe this campaign? So much mud has been thrown this year all the nominees look black."

  • Steve Martin (2003)

    Steve Martin: "There were smaller movies this year. There was a movie called Secretary about a woman who is humiliated by her boss is spanked and has to crawl on her knees and carries manila folders in her teeth. And they say there are no parts for women."

  • Robin Williams (2005)

    When presenting the animation award, Williams poked at Spongebob Squarepants. "They tell me now that Spongebob is gay, squarepants is not gay, tight pants maybe. Spongebob Hotpants — you go girl! What about Donald Duck? Little sailor top, no pants — hello! Chip and Dale, two male munks sharing a trunk and covered in nuts — hello! Bugs Bunny in more dresses than J. Edgar Hoover at mardi gras — hello!

  • Jon Stewart (2008)

    Jon Stewart: "Democrats do have an historical race going. Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama… normally when you see a black man and a woman president an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty.”

  • Steve Martin (2010)

    Steve Martin: "In Inglorious Basterds, Christoph Waltz played a Nazi obsessed with finding Jews. Well Christoph, [GESTURES OUT AT THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE] the mother lode!”

  • Billy Crystal (2012)

    Following Octavia Spencer's best supporting actress win, Billy Crystal said to the audience, "After I saw The Help, I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45-minute drive."

  • Seth MacFarlane (2013)

    Seth MacFarlane pretended to confuse Denzel Washington with Eddie Murphy, “Denzel doesn’t care, he’s got a great sense of humor. He did all those Nutty Professor movies. He’s hilarious.”

    Later, he poked at Chris Brown and Rihanna. "[Django Unchained] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."

  • Ellen DeGeneres (2014)

    Ellen DeGeneres: “Barkhad Abdi is here. He’s nominated for Captain Phillips. He is from Somalia. He is a sommelier, so he knows a lot about wine," the host quipped. She then said directly to the actor, "Who is the wine captain now?!” to which Abdi raised his eyebrows and mouthed back, “You are."

  • Neil Patrick Harris (2015)

    During his opening monologue, Neil Patrick Harris addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy early on. "Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest," he joked, before correcting himself, "sorry brightest.”