Chris Rock waisted no time in tackling the lack of diversity at the 88th annual Academy Awards. After welcoming the audience to the show, “otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards,” he broadened out the context of #OscarSoWhite this year by reminding everyone that it’s not exactly a new phenomenon. Sure, black actors got nominated in the years that Sidney Poitier put something out but they’re generally overlooked. Why is the protest so prevalent this year then? Because in the past “we were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer,” he said
. “You know, when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”
Rock also took a swing at actors, including Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, who publicly boycotted the ceremony. “The last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart,” he said, explaining why he was there. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
He also took the time to chime in on the “AskHerMore red carpet controversy “Everything’s not sexism, everything’s not racism,” said Rock. “They ask the men more because the men are all wearing the same outfits, O.K.? You know, if George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on, and a swan coming out his ass, somebody would go, ‘What you wearing, George?’”
There was also a movie montage in which black actors, including Whoopi Goldberg and Tracy Morgan, were digitally inserted to all-white films, including Joy
and The Danish Girl
respectively. It was a great joke.
But other jokes fell flat: “A cameo introducing the ‘minority outreach’ official Stacey Dash, a conservative actress who had criticized Black History Month on Fox News, seemed to perplex much of the audience and perhaps also Ms. Dash,” the New York Times said
. “And one of the few acknowledgments of Asians in the broadcast was an awkward gag in which Mr. Rock introduced three Asian children as the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants.”
Let’s get down to brass tacks: who won what. The night’s top winner was Max Max: Fury Road
. The film took home a total of six awards. And for the second year in a row, Alejandro González Iñárritu won the Oscar for Best Director for The Revenant
, although the film lost out to Spotlight
, which won Best Picture, making it the second film in Oscar history, after 1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth
, to win just one other Academy Award besides Best Picture.
After his fifth acting nomination, Leo won Best Actor. More celebratory, if you ask me, was legendary composer Ennio Morricone—think The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Untouchables
and my favourite, the score to 1900
—finally winning an Academy Award for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight
after being nominated six times.
Brie Larson won for Best Actress for Room
and Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Danish Girl
. Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a Soviet agent in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies
, upsetting front runner Sylvester Stallone who reprised his role as Rocky in Creed
39 years after playing the boxer.
That ticker didn’t seem to save the broadcast much time: the show was over three-and-a-half hours long, which made me wonder if eliminating musical performances would help. After all, the Academy Awards are not the Grammy’s. As Chris Rock said, “We’re here to honor actors, we’re here to honor films.”
For the first time in 30 years of watching the Oscar ceremony, I fell asleep for a good chunk of time in the middle of the show. Considering 9-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay managed to stay awake, I have no excuse.
In any case, here's a complete list of winners