Like a true professional, Oscars ’16 host Chris Rock has taken the edge off a rough situation.
In his opening speech, the star immediately addressed this year’s nominations controversy, an issue which has dominated the show’s media coverage. Of the 20 major awards categories, not one nod went to an actor or actress of color; this, some say, speaks to a major problem permeating the entertainment industry at large.
“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties: I wasn’t invited,” he joked, following up hastily with a small caveat: “Not that that’s an invitation I would turn down.”
And while Rock’s monologue was highly comedic, some points came from a solemn place. While referencing the Smiths’ Oscars boycott, he said:
“It’s not fair that Will [Smith] was so good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair he was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.”
The comedian also had a solution that, in all honesty, made a lot of sense:
“Get black categories,” he said simply. “You already do it with men and women. Think about it, there’s no real reason to have different categories for men and women. Robert De Niro never said, ‘I better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up.’ If you want black people, have black categories.”
Finally, he asked the million-dollar question: “Is hollywood racist?”
“It’s a different type of racist,” he said. “Hollywood is sorority racist: ‘We like you, Ronda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ That’s how Hollywood is. But things are changing…we got a Black Rocky this year; some people call it Creed, I call it ‘Black Rocky.’
“We want opportunity. We want the Black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors, and that’s that. Not just once — Leo gets a great part every year — what about Jamie Foxx? Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors in the world. Jamie Foxx was so good in Ray that they went to the hospital and unplugged Ray Charles.”
For more, check out the full video below: