The Brittany Runs a Marathon star called out the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards this year - and poked fun at John Travolta

By Dana Rose Falcone
February 09, 2020 10:48 PM
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Eminem surprised Oscars viewers with a performance of his 2003 Academy Award-winning hit “Lose Yourself,” and then Utkarsh Ambudkar took the stage with another rap.

The Indian-American actor — who stars in Brittany Runs a Marathon and White Famous and played Mindy’s brother on The Mindy Project — gave a freestyle recap of the awards show before the Best Cinematography award was handed out.

Ambudkar, 36, acknowledged that a lot of people watching him on Sunday night might not be familiar with him despite his accomplishments in movies and on Broadway.

“This is incredible. I do not belong here,” Ambudkar told the audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles before rapping, “You don’t know me.”

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Utkarsh Ambudkar
Utkarsh Ambudkar on stage at the 2020 Academy Awards in Los Angeles
| Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty

The NYU grad then explained to the beat, “I’m here to recap the show and emcee for a bunch of nominees that don’t look like me,” referring to the lack of people of color nominated this year.

He asked Brad Pitt to make a World War Z sequel, shouted out his TV sister Kaling and referenced John Travolta botching Idina Menzel’s name at the 2014 Oscars, where he called her Adele Dazeem.

“Her name is Idina Menzel, Mr. Travolta,” Ambudkar rapped.

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Ambudkar then showed some love for friend Lin-Manuel Miranda’s upcoming big-screen adaptation of In the Heights, saying, “Next year, In the Heights is guaranteed.”

The musician has performed with Freestyle Love Supreme, an improv-rap troupe started by Miranda with Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale, on Broadway and released two rap albums in 2019. Next up, he’ll appear in Disney’s live-action Mulan as a new character Skatch.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards are airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.