I love Chris Rock and his comedy….well, most of the time anyway. So, I tuned into the 2016, 88th Academy Awards. Having watched none of the movies nominated, I was eager to see what Rock was going to do with this controversy over the “all white Oscars”. It was my bet that Rock was going to get some snipes in and he didn’t fail to live up to my expectations. As a matter of fact, he went so far with it that it became awkward, embarrassing and eventually, disjointed. I nearly turned the entire program over to yet another rerun of Big Bang Theory or some other program I’d seen at least 3 times before.
One look at the faces in the audience and one could tell that even fellow members of the Academy were not knowing whether to clap, laugh or be insulted. Confused was more the word, with many clapping or laughing out of sheer discomfort and “I don’t know what I should do here” type feelings. “Do I laugh? Do I clap? Do I sit here and keep my mouth hanging open should the camera pan over me? Should I try to be a good sport and politically correct or, do I want to cross my arms and not move?”
Right from the first sentence, it was perfectly clear that Rock was going to hit this issue and not let up on it. It actually got to a point where it wasn’t even about the Oscars anymore but, about Blacks being lynched in days gone by and killed by cops, going to see movies.
Yes, he took some jabs at Jada Pinkett Smith over her outrage that her husband, Actor, Will Smith, wasn’t nominated this year. If I’m not mistaken, Jada P. Smith was one the instigators for this manic state over “black rights” at the awards.
It was hard to tell exactly what Rock was getting at through certain points he made. He seemed to be taking jabs at the Smiths while driving home the idea that the Oscars are racist.
“But this is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host, because we’ve got all this controversy. No, no black nominees, you know, and people are like “Chris, you should boycott. Chris, you should quit. You should quit,” Rock said, clad in a white tux.
“So, I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard. But, I realized, they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. You know? And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart, O.K.?”
In reality, it’s likely that Rock realized that he had the perfect self-made soap box to stand on with this issue and he did it well.
Well, Chris this wasn’t “The White People’s Choice Awards” as you’ve called them. The average Jane and Joe didn’t vote or even get the chance to do so. Secondly, Neil Patrick Harris didn’t do such a bang-up job when he hosted the awards so, I wouldn’t ask him back if I were the one in charge.
The entire evening after Rock’s monologue felt like a wet blanket had been thrown over it. There were quips for the rest of the night made by Rock and scattered throughout his stage presences. Statements like “we’re black…uhhh…I mean BACK” after commercial breaks and, “….whiter than white…Charlize Theron” as he introduced the first presenters of the show. They didn’t go unnoticed and it was only after the awards started being accepted that one could feel the audience getting more into the purpose of the show but, the show had a pall cast over it and it wasn’t leaving. The only thing leaving were viewer’s enthusiasm over watching any further. Personally, I ended up flipping channels and doing other things instead.
This turned out not to be “The Lily White Oscars” after all. Rock saw to it. Perhaps, it should have been titled, “The Black Orchid Oscars”?
I’ve got an idea though. Since Will Smith and Jada own their own production company, why don’t they write, produce and both star in a version of “Broke Black Mountain” or “Black To The Future”?
From my little corner of life, the message was there but was over the top and got lost through a rather uncomfortable show this year. While others will see Rock as a genius for it, all that it made me do was to turn the entire show off. I did enjoy some re-runs though and learned how to use Crave TV. All was not totally lost.
If you wish to read the transcript of Rock’s “performance” in his opening monologue, read it here.