Beyond Bravo

Chris Rock Calls Out Hollywood Racism in a Big Way at 2016 Oscars

The host didn't hold back in his monologue, calling this year's show the "the white People's Choice Awards." 

Chris Rock tackled the #OscarsSoWhite controversy head on when he took the stage as host of the 2016 Oscars Sunday night, which he said was also called "the white People's Choice Awards." The comedian's opening monologue addressed the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominees this year, ultimately giving his own answer to the question "Is Hollywood racist?" "The real question everybody wants to know in the world is is Hollywood racist?" Chris asked during his speech. "You're damn right Hollywood's racist, but it ain't the racist that you've grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It's like, 'We like you Rhonda, but you're not a Kappa.'" 

Chris also recounted a moment when he met President Barack Obama with some other movers and shakers in the entertainment industry and told him, "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."

Chris also called out some of the people who boycotted this year's Oscars ceremony following the announcement of the nominees, such as Jada Pinkett Smith. Chris found it odd that Jada would boycott a ceremony awarding achievements in cinema when she has most recently starred on TV in Gotham. "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited," Chris joked.

The host said he also thought about boycotting the Oscars, but it wouldn't have done him or his career any good. "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," Chris said. "And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart. I don't need that. Kev make movies fast. Every month. Porno stars don't make movies that fast."

Ultimately, the host summed up the backlash against this year's Oscar nominees as being about the lack of opportunity afforded to African Americans in the entertainment industry. "What I'm trying to say is it's not about boycotting anything. We want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That's it," Chris said. "Not just once. Leo [DiCaprio] gets a great part every year. All you guys get great parts all the time. But what about the black actors?" 

Chris also joked that things are changing. "We got a Black Rocky this year. Yeah, some people call it Creed, but I call it Black Rocky," he said. "And that's a big statement because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. So Rocky is a science fiction movie. There are things that happen in Star Wars that are more believable than Rocky." 

However, Chris did single out one white actor to hilariously praise his range. "Paul Giamatti, I believe, is the greatest actor in the world," he said. "Think about what Paul Giamatti has done in 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 whooping Lupita [Nyong'o]. This year he's crying at Eazy-E's funeral. Now that's range."

You can check out Chris' full opening monologue over on the Oscars' official website.

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