Chris Rock Addresses Race at the Oscars: 'Otherwise Known as the White People's Choice Awards'
As this year's Academy Awards ceremony neared, the question on so many minds was "what will Chris do?"
That's because this year's host Chris Rock was tasked with the dual duties of emceeing the biggest night in Hollywood while also addressing in the funniest way possible the controversy over this year's complete lack of black actor nominees.
In Rock's eagerly--or nervously--anticipated opening monologue, the stand-up comedian did not disappoint.
It also served up some of its own controversy.
"I counted at least 15 black people on that montage," Rock, decked out in a white on white tux, said as he strutted onto the stage following a supercut of the year's big films.
Welcome to the Oscars, Rock said, "Otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards."
Rock hit the ground running by addressing the controversy and didn't soon let up.
"If they nominated hosts, I wouldn't get this job, ya'll would be watching Neil Patrick Harris," he said to laughs.
Rock also used humor to explain why he chose to stay on as host while other black entertainers, such as Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, joined a boycott of the event.
"I though about quitting, but realized they're gonna have the Oscars anyway," the host said. "The last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart."
Rock also poked fun at the Smiths, joking: "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties...I wasn't invited."
In what may be the most controversial joke--one that minimized the struggles of black Hollywood--of the monologue, Rock explained why he thinks there hasn't been more anger over prior years with no black nominees.
"Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time," he said. "When your grandmothers swinging from a tree, its hard to care about best foreign short."
In the end, (almost) all jokes aside, Rock said the controversy is really about a lack of roles offered to black actors.
"Its not about boycotting...its about opportunity," he said. "Leo gets a great part every year...what about the black actors? What about Jamie Foxx?"