Comedian Chris Rock opened the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday by commenting on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
“Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage!” he said in reference to this year’s lack of diversity among acting nominees. “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job!”
Rock later invoked Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith, who along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, boycotted the event after Smith’s film Concussion was snubbed from awards consideration.
“It’s not fair that Will Smith was this good and didn’t get nominated,” said Rock. “It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.”
He said of Pinkett Smith, “What happened this year? Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars. Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited! It’s not an invitation I would turn down.”
Rock also joked the Academy should create “black categories,” noting: “You already do it with men and women, think about it. There’s no real reason to have a men and a women category in acting. It’s not track and field, you don’t have to separate them.”
“Black people did not protest. Why? because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer,” he said … “This year, in the in memoriam package, it’s just gonna be black people that was shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Yes, yes, I said it.”
Rock later introduced the evening’s first presenters, saying, “You want diversity? We got diversity. Please welcome Emily Blunt and somebody whiter, Charlize Theron.”
Watch Chris Rock’s entire opening monologue below: