Immediately going in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Rock included jabs at Jada Pinkett Smith, who opted not to attend the Dolby Theatre show, and Kevin Hart. Here is the 51-year-old’s comedian’s opening bit in full:
“Man, I counted at least fifteen black people on that montage. I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the white people’s choice awards. You realize, if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even have this job. Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris…
This is the wildest, craziest Oscars to host because of all this controversy. There are no black nominees. People are like ‘Chris, you should boycott, Chris you should quit.’ How come theres only unemployed people to tell you to quit something? No one with a job ever tells you to quit.
I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard. They’re going to have the Oscars anyway. They’re not going to cancel the Oscars because I quit, the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart. I don’t need that. Kev makes movies fast. Porno stars don’t make movies that fast.
Now the thing is, why are we protesting? That’s the big question, why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole ‘no black nominees’ thing has happened at least 71 other times. You got to figure that it happened in the ’50s in the ’60s, you know in the ’60s one of those years Sidney [Poitier] didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees one of those years and black people did not protest.
Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. Too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. When your grandmother is swinging from the tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.
But what happened this year? People went mad. Spike got mad Jada got mad. Will went mad. Everyone went mad. Jada said she’s not coming, protesting. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties – I wasn’t invited.
That’s not an invitation I would turn down. But I understand. I understand you’re mad – Jada’s mad, her man Will was not nominated for Concussion. I get it. Tell the truth. I get it. It’s not fair that Will was this god and didn’t get nominated, It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.
This year, things are going to be a little different at the Oscars. This year in the memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Yes, I said it.
If you want black nominees every year, you need to have black categories. That’s what you need. You already do it with men and women. Think about it. There’s no real reason for a men and women category in acting. It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. Robert De Niro never said, ‘I better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up.’ No. If you want black people every year at the Oscars just have black categories, like ‘best black friend.’ And the winner, for the 18th year in a row, is Wanda Sykes. This is Wanda’s 18th black Oscar.
Here’s the real question Is Hollywood racist? Well – that’s a – you got to go at that the right way. Is it burning-cross racist? No. Is it fetch-me-some-lemonade racist? No. No no no. It’s a different type of racist.
I remember one night I was at a fundraiser for President Obama, a lot of people were there. It’s me and all of Hollywood, all of us there. There’s about four black people there – me, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove – you know, the usual suspects. And then every black actor that wasn’t working. Kev Hart was not there.
At some point you get to take a picture with the president and as they’re setting up the picture, you get a little – and producers and actors, they don’t hire black people and they’re the nicest white people on earth. They’re liberals – Cheese! That’s right.
Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is sorority racist. Its like, ‘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. That’s an unbelievable statement because Rocky takes place in a world where the white athletes are as good as black athletes. Rocky is a science fiction movie. There’s things that happened in Star Wars that is more believable than Rocky.
We’re here to honor actors, we’re here to honor film. Theres a lot of snubs. One of the biggest snubs no one is talking about, Paul Giamatti. I believe he’s the greatest actor in the world. Think about what Paul Giamatti has done in the past couple of years. Last year he’s in Twelve Years a Slave, hates black people This year he’s in Straight Outta Compton, loves black people. Last year he’s whipping Lupita, this year he’s crying at Eazy E’s funeral. Now, that’s range. Ben Affleck can’t do that.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s not about boycotting, it’s just we want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities. That’s it. Not just once. Leo gets a great part every year. All you guys get great parts all the time, but what about the black actors? Look at Jamie Foxx. Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors in the world man. Jamie Foxx was so good in Ray that they went to the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles. Like, we don’t need two of these.
Everything is not about race, man. Another big thing tonight is, you’re not allowed to ask women what they’re wearing – ask her more. You have to ask her more. Everything is not sexism, everything is not racism. They ask the men more because the men are all wearing the same outfits. Every guy is wearing the same thing. If George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on and a swan coming out of his a–, somebody would go ‘What you wearing George?’ Welcome to the 88th Oscars! You want diversity, you got diversity!”
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The 88th annual Awards are being presented live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.