The 2016 nominations sparked outrage after white actors accounted for all of the possible acting nominations for the second year in a row. And while some people called for Rock to boycott the Oscars, he decided to keep hosting.
“I thought about quitting,” Rock said. “I thought about it really hard. They’re gonna have the Oscars anyway,” Rock said. “And the last thing I need is to lost another job to Kevin Hart.”
Rock came onstage after a montage of the year’s best and biggest films, and he wasted no time ripping apart the Oscars, the whiteness of the nominees, and the racism that’s still apparent in Hollywood, while much of the audience squirmed or laughed uncomfortably.
“Black people didn’t protest, because we had real things to protest at the time,” Rock said. “We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. When you’re hanging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary short.” He even took a swing at police brutality before turning to the underlying question at hand.
“Is Hollywood racist?” he continued. “You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist … Hollywood is sorority racist. ‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ But things are changing. We got a black Rocky this year!”
Rock then directed his criticism toward the systematic racism that’s woven throughout Hollywood.
"We want the black actors to get the same opportunities. That's it. And not just once. Leo gets a great part every year." #Oscars— Racialicious (@racialicious) February 29, 2016
People online largely loved Rock’s monologue, but some criticized it for not including other minorities.
"oh god he's joking about systemic racism what should my face be don't pan to me don't pan to me" -this audience— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) February 29, 2016
Except that he spoke specifically about black actors https://t.co/4ZyDlwJ0hR— Fidel Martinez (@fidmart85) February 29, 2016
Photo via Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)