Chris Rock's Oscars Monologue Totally Nailed the Problem With Diversity in Hollywood

AP

Chris Rock, in a white tux, opened the 88th Academy Awards with a blistering monologue that addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that hung over the ceremony like a white cloud. 

Walking out after a montage that highlighted some of the best performances and films of the year, Rock said, "I encountered at least 15 black people in that montage." He then welcomed everyone to the Oscars, or the "White People's Choice Awards."

"If they nominated host, I wouldn't even get this job," he continued. "Y'all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now."

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

Rock then spoke at length about the Oscars controversy and the pressure he felt to quit his job as a host. "How come it's only unemployed people that tell you to quit something?" Rock quipped. Rock says he chose not to quit because the last thing he needs is "to lose another job to Kevin Hart." 

Rock wondered why this year's Oscars garnered so much attention for its lack of diversity when there have to have been so many years before when this was a problem — especially during the '50s and '60s. 

"It's the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole 'no black nominees thing' has happened at least 71 other times," Rock joked. In a tense moment, Rock joked there were less protests at previous Academy Awards because in previous decades, black people had "real things to protest at the time." 

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

"We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer," he said. When your grandmother's swinging from a tree it's really hard to care about best documentary foreign short." 

Rock then moved on to discuss specific people who boycotted the Oscars. In one of his most biting jokes, he called out actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who has never been nominated for an Oscar. "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties," he said. "I wasn't invited."

He continued, by mocking Smith's husband, actor Will Smith. "It's also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West," Rock said.

Rock then brought up police brutality, stating that this year's "In Memoriam package is just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on their way to the movies." A nervous laughter erupted. At this point, Rock said, if black people want to win Oscars, they need to have "black only" categories, stating it would be no different than having separate male and female categories.

"Is Hollywood racist? You know, that's a, you know, you have to go at that the right way," he said. "Is it 'burning cross' racist? Is it 'fetch me some lemonade' racist? No."

But, Rock said, Hollywood is definitely racist. "You're damn right Hollywood's racist," he said. "It's not the racism you've grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It's like, 'We like you Rhonda, but you're not a Kappa!'"

Rock ended his monologue by saying that things are changing, given that he calls boxing movie Creed "Black Rocky." 

Finally, Rock ended with a plea to Hollywood very similar to Viola Davis' speech at last year's Emmys. 

"We want opportunity," he said. "We want black actors to get the same opportunities. That's it! Not just once. Leo gets a great part every year and you know all of you guys get great parts all the time. Look at Jamie Foxx. Jamie Foxx was so good in Ray that they went the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles. They're like, 'We don't need two of these.'" 

Watch a comparison between Rock's monologue this year and from his last hosting gig in 2005 below.