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Though host Chris Rock may have chosen to stay silent on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in the days leading up to the the 88th annual Academy Awards, he held nothing back on the Dolby stage on Sunday night.
In his opening monologue, Rock took aim at a slew of hot topics in Hollywood, including #AskHerMore, the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees and the numerous Hollywood stars, such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, who called for a boycott of the Oscars.
“Why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole ‘no black nominees’ thing has happened at least 71 other times,” Rock said as he opened the show.
Read a transcription of Rock’s opening speech here:
I counted at least 15 black people on that montage!
Well I’m here at the Academy Awards. Otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize, if they nominated host, I wouldn’t even get this job! Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.
But here’s the crazy thing. This is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host because we got all this controversy — no black nominees. And people are like. “Chris, you should boycott! Chris, you should quit! You should quit.” 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 gonna have the Oscars anyway.” They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit! And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart, OK? I don’t need that! Kev, right there [points to Hart in audience]. Kev make movies fast! Every month! Porno stars don’t make movies that fast.
Now the things is, what are we protesting — the big question: Why this Oscars? Why this Oscars, you know? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole “no black nominees” thing has happened at least 71 other times, OK? You gotta figure that it happened in the ’50s, in the ’60s — you know like one of those years Sidney [Poitier] didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years. Say ’65, ’62 or ’63 — and black people did not protest! Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We had real things to protest. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. 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! Spike got mad. Sharpton got mad and Jada went mad, Will went mad. Everybody went mad! It’s crazy! Jada went mad. Jada says she’s not coming. Protesting. I’m like, “Ain’t she on a TV show?” Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited! Oh, that’s not an invitation I would turn down!
But I understand! I’m not hating. I understand you’re mad. Jada’s mad her man, Will, was not nominated for Concussion. I get it. [Impersonates Will Smith’s character] “Tell the truth!” I get it! You get mad. Said “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated!” You’re right! It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West! OK?
This year at the Oscars things are going to be a little different! This year, in the In Memoriam package, it’s just gonna be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies! Yes! Yes! I said it, all right?
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! Come on! There’s no reason! It’s not track and field! You don’t have to separate them! 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! And the winner for the 18th year in a row, is Wanda Sykes! “This is Wanda’s 18th Black Oscar.”
Well here’s the real question. The real question everybody wants to know in the world is: Is Hollywood racist? You know. You gotta go at that at the right way. Is it burning-cross racist? No. Is it “Fetch me some lemonade” racist? No! It’s a different type of racist.
Now I remember one night I was at a fundraiser for President Obama — lot of you were there. And you know it’s me and all of Hollywood. And it’s about four black people there. Me, uh 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, Kev Hart was not there, OK?
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 not the racist that you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, “We like you Ronda, but your 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 an unbelievable statement, cause Rocky takes place in a white world, where white athletes are as good as black athletes. Rocky‘s a science fiction movie. There’s things that happen in Star Wars that are more believable than things that happen in Rocky, OK?
But hey we’re here to honor actors. We’re here to honor film, you know. And there’s a lot of snubs. But one of the biggest snubs no one’s talking about: My favorite actor in the world is Paul Giamatti. Paul Giamatti I believe is the greatest actor in the world. Think about what Paul Giamatti has done the last couple of years. 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 whipping Lupita [Nyong’o]. This year he’s crying at Eazy-E’s funeral! Now that’s range!
Ben Affleck can’t do that! What I’m trying to say is 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! You know. Not just once. Leo gets a great part every year. All you guys get great parts all the time. What about the black actors? Look at Jamie Foxx. Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors in the world, man. Jamie Foxx — he is! Jamie Foxx was so good in Ray that they went to hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles. It’s like “We don’t need two of these!” Everything’s not about race, man.
Another big thing tonight — somebody told me this — you’re not allowed to ask women what they’re wearing anymore. It’s a whole thing: #AskHerMore. “You have to ask her more! You ask the men more!” Everything’s not sexism, everything’s not racism. They ask the men more because the men are all wearing the same outfits! Every guy in here is wearing the exact same thing! If George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on, and a swan coming out of his ass, somebody would go, “Whatcha wearin’, George!”
Hey, welcome to the 88th Academy Awards!
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