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Worth Watching: Chris Rock's Oscars Opening Monologue on Diversity

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February 29, 2016
Source: YouTube

Chris Rock's Oscars Opening Monologue

"Otherwise known as the 'White People's Choice Awards.'" Last night's 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood was hosted by comedian/actor/filmmaker Chris Rock (hosting for his second time), which was rather perfect because the Oscars this year were clouded by some controversy surrounding diversity, or the lack there of, considering there were very few minority nominees. "This is the wildest, craziest, Oscars to ever host because you've got all this controversy - no black Oscar nominees," he started out by stating. Rock addresses the diversity issue, as well as being told to boycott, and then speaks about - very simply - what they want. "We want black actors to get the same opportunities - that's it." Watch below.

Thanks to Sky Movies for uploading the full monologue (via The Playlist). See the full list of winners for the 88th Academy Awards here, to go along with Rock's opening monologue for the ceremony. This was one of the wildest and most enjoyable opening monologues in a while, mostly because Chris Rock just lets loose and says what he wants here - almost unscripted, but it can't be. "Things are changing - yeah we've got a black Rocky this year." It's funny that he mentions Paul Giamatti, and Jamie Foxx. "What happened this year? People got mad!" It's great to hear him really talk honestly with everyone about all of this. The rest of the show had some fun moments including the "Deleted Scenes" featuring black actors. What did you think?

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  • jay
    I thought the whole program went a little overboard with the self-awareness this year, but man, I loved Chris' opening monologue. Great comedy should be dangerous, and Chris' was definitely that.
  • Higgens
    He made some good points, but I do disagree with the "more opportunities" comment. Movies are a for profit business. They cast Leo instead of Jamie because Leo sells more tickets. I can't find it now and am not going to spend any more time looking but I remember reading some stats that movies are viewed more by white people(in the theater). If thats true then it makes sense that there are more roles for white people, more white people see the movie, white people are going to relate to white leads. Its the same thing with toy marketing, its not sexism that Black Widow has less toys, its business. Boys buy the toys, boys (typically) do not want to play with a girl toy, so they make less because they sell less. These things are not an attack on a race or sex, they are a result of sales trends. Want more black actors, get blacks to go see more movies, want more female based "boys" toys, gets girls to buy action figures or boys to buy the girl toys.(good luck)
    • jay
      I sort of agree, I think it should be looked at as a more cultural issue than a Hollywood issue. Hollywood is only doing what have been proven to make them the most money. If we as a society put greater value on empathy and relating to other peoples' experience, maybe more white people would be going to see movies with a black lead without that subconscious issue of relating to the star. That said, hollywood does have a lot of power in the issue still. They are capable of making summer blockbusters movies that will make money regardless of who the lead is. If they cast Shia LeBouf or Michael B. Jordan as the lead in the next Transformers, they will probably make the same amount of money. I feel like those are the types of films where hollywood does have an opportunity to enlist a more diverse cast.
      • Higgens
        I can agree, there are roles that DO offer opportunity that would not eat in to ticket sales. Would certainly rather see Jordan than Bouf.
        • Have Hope
          But this is 2016 not 1956. Hip Hop is the most popular musical artform now, so having the right black lead will still bring in an audience. But it's not having to spend a ridiculous amount of money on every film, which will therefore reduce risk and yield a better return. And I am not sure what report you looked at but one I saw showed blacks go to the cinema more often than any other race, in proportion to their population within America.
          • Higgens
            What you read does not necessarily refute what I have read. What I remember looking at was a break down by race, not taking into account proportionality of the races. So (fake numbers) 65% white, 25% black 10% other. So the 2 points of data are not mutually exclusive. Hip Hop being popular is moot if the people who listen to the music are not likely to go to a movie. Like I said up top, it breaks down to profitability. Leo is more bankable than Jamie. Cpt America Toys sell more than Black Widow. Here is an example. Studio wants to make a family holiday comedy, they want it to be as relatable as possible to the largest swath of people. In America What color will the family be to meet that criteria? White. Maybe the older Daughter has a black husband or Boy friend to get some diversity in there. Its not racism, its business. That same film cast with blacks has less marketability, simple as that. Because there are a LOT more whites than blacks. That doesnt mean there are no roles for Blacks, just that inherently there are LESS, not because of racism because of appeal to mass market.
          • Have Hope
            True, I get what you're saying. And I Leo is not really bankable, he's just living off the women who adore him from Titanic. But yes, putting in your Ryan Gosling or Christian Bale will appeal to the vast white numbers. BUT...you are false in saying most people who are into Hip Hop don't go to the movies. Just look at Straight out of Compton. First of all, it had to be good, which it was...very well made. So with good word of mouth, it was an extremely profitable film with an almost all black cast. So to just say because of business, we are stuck with whites tanning themselves to play egyptians, which have been box office failures and turds on two occassions now, is folly. Just for the hell of it...let them just make more asian-led, hispanic-led and black-led films and see how that goes. For a laugh...maybe let's get actual africans to play the egyptians? But the key is to always make a good film...if you do, your chances are always greater.
          • Higgens
            Hang on now, I am not saying hip hop listeners DO NOT go to the movies. Im just saying the fact that hip hop is popular does not necessarily mean there is a bankable movie market. Straight Outta Compton does show that there is a lot of folks willing to go see a movie about mid 90s hip hop legends. Would a movie of the same caliber made about a contemporary hip hop star do nearly as well though? I would have much rathered ethnic casting in the recent Egyptian movies. I have no issue with ethnic casting, it has to make sense though. Blacks make up just 13% of the American, personally I find there representation in film to reflect that.
          • TK
            Movies do get a huge portion of profits from other countries as well that have a variety of different cultures. As for hip hop - Isn't one of the biggest shows on tv at the moment about hip hop. I don't watch Empire but it's pretty popular. I am sure if there was a movie covering hip hop even if it's fictional it will do ok. All I am saying is if you make the right movie it should appeal to the masses no matter who is acting, whether he be black or white. White people streamed to the cinemas to watch a black cop kicking ass in Beverly Hills Cops. I am sure there were also a large portion of white people who went to watch 12 Years a Slave or Straight Outta Compton.
          • Have Hope
            But it's not just about blacks watching blacks. It's about showing film as a global medium of stories showing what the world is like. It's pretty boring and narrow for us to only see the white experience. Let's see all shades of color, because it's just more interesting and opens your eyes to new ways of thinking and aspects.
    • El_MUERkO
      dude, he was not being serious about black oscars, it was a joke, how do you not get that?
      • Higgens
        Was he? It started like a joke, then it really didn't have a punch line. I can easily retract that statement if I totally missed its joke.
    • Terry Craig
      Yeah, but have you ever asked yourself *why* Leo sells more tickets? Because people associate him with more movies they like, bc he was given the opportunity to be in them, while black actors did NOT have that opportunity. It's a vicious circle that needs to be broken. Have you also thought about *why* there's white people who "don't relate" to non-white characters? Because the white audience hasn't been given enough opportunity for that either! Mostly they see caricatures rather than a round, well-written character. This is what shapes the public mind and needs to change. People need to be able to relate to one another, regardless of skin color. Besides, I'm pretty sure white people are not the majority of movie audiences, at least internationally. If you're talking about US only, then that's just one of the many countries a movie gets shown in. And even in the US there are tons of non-white folks. (And yeah, the black Oscars thing was just a joke.)
      • Higgens
        Leo gets roles because he is a stellar actor. And constantly so for 20 or so years now. There are lots of different races in America, but whites are the vast majority. Marketing to that larger audience makes sense. We can discuss the why of it forever, frankly its moot to me, I cant change anything, nor do I see it as a real issue. Like Rock said, people bitch about this shit now for lack of anything real.
        • Terry Craig
          Personal taste in acting/actors aside (I think Leo is overrated), did you even read my comment? America is not the only country that goes to the cinema, and internationally, whites are in the vast *minority*. And even if you ignore that, you can market to white people with non-white actors. Yes, I can see that you don't question the status quo and seem to be a defeatist, but some of us aren't, believe it or not.
    • TK
      More opportunity doesn't necessarily mean stealing Leo or George's movie parts. It's about creating roles for black or asian etc. actors and having black, asian etc. actors play those parts. Not like Gods of Egypt, Aloha or Exodus Gods and Kings. Movies like Django Unchained, Creed, Straight Outta Compton and 12 Years a Slave are great examples but there just aren't enough is what Chris was getting at. Don't even get me started on toys. There was an article where it says many young girls went to buy toys of Rey from Star Wars and similarly Black Widow only to be told they didn't have them. I think John Oliver touched on it as well. How can young girls buy more toys when they aren't even catered for in that market. If you think about sales trends the best selling toy is actually Barbie and oven bake. See a trend here. Shouldn't a girl be able to buy a toy that doesn't have anything to do with cooking or ditsy barbie. Also shows that girls buy more toys then boys. Rey is the main character as well and Black Widow is a part of the Avengers. After all the outcry Disney gave in and created toys and guess what they are selling like hotcakes.
      • Steven
        I totally agree - but business can be slow sometimes to see a change in trends. Hence not realising the potential in toys for girls in the form of Black Widow and Rey. In regard to the Oscars, race shouldn't come into it, an actor should be awarded based on talent for the part they are playing. However, again I agree more parts should go to coloured actors that are suited for the role. On a different note I think the BMAs should be scrapped as while it once fulfilled a role, with hopefully changes in society in general the encouragement of racial separation on both sides should be discouraged.
  • capitandelespacio
    Funny.
  • So weird.
  • Miguel Garay Boszeta
    Very uncomfortable on some points, but neccesary.
  • ion677
    Just really not funny. Seth Macfarlane was better. Neil Patrick Harris was way better.
    • ion677
      Also, Ellen Degeneres was amazing.
  • Payne by name
    They might as well have given next year's award to Birth of a nation and be done with it. This is what this silly exercise will lead to. Films containing blacks that are automatically made winners to appease white guilt. In some way I feel for the makers of Birth of a nation because they'll never be sure whether their film was good enough quality to compete with other films or just won because of the subject matter. Still, I'm sure Jada and Spike will be happy about the new quota system that will have to be in place.
  • Yep, sad little men.
  • Cyberdine
    I thought diversity included more than one race. It seems Chris Rock's argument was one-sided.

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