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On Thursday night, The Daily Show took on the Oscar nominees’ lack of diversity. For the second year in a row, the Academy failed to nominate any actors of color for its acting awards. And as Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. pointed out, even when the Academy recognized black movies, they nominated white people involved with the film, such as Sylvester Stallone for Creed and Straight Outta Compton‘s white screenwriters.
“Straight Outta Compton? More like Straight Outta Cornell,” Wood Jr. quipped.
Ultimately, though, Wood Jr. and host Trevor Noah determined, the real people to blame are black filmmakers.
“It’s time for black filmmakers to rise up and admit that they know the only way to win best picture is by pandering to white Oscar voters,” Noah joked.
“Yeah, we know the rules. If we want to win an Oscar, we have to make a movie about black people being oppressed,” Wood Jr. added. “White people love feeling bad about how they treated black people, so to make a hit black movie, you need a whip, a firehouse or a Negro spiritual.”
Indeed, Noah pointed out that one of the few black Oscar nominees this year is The Weeknd, up for best original song for his Fifty Shades of Grey track “Earned It.”
Fifty Shades, Noah explained, “is basically a movie about a rich white guy who likes whipping people.”
But the Daily Show host said it “sucks” that in order for black filmmakers to win Oscars, they have to make movies about slavery.
Wood Jr. countered, “We can make any movie we want, we just have to trick white people into thinking the movie is about slavery.”
For instance, he suggested throwing in the sound of people humming a spiritual.
“Straight Outta Compton would have been nominated five times if they’d replaced the gangsta rap with spirituals like that,” Wood said, showing a re-cut clip from the movie, followed by a graphic reading “Straight Outta Cotton.”
And the Daily Show team even “sprinkled a little slavery” in Creed. They re-cut the trailer to make it about how Michael B. Jordan’s character’s great-grandfather was a slave and now he has to fight for his freedom in Freed.
“To honor his ancestors, he has to fight every white man alive,” a voiceover says over scenes of Jordan’s boxer taking on white opponents.
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