The 88th annual Oscars were a night to remember. A lot of controversy beforehand had plagued this particular awards ceremony, there were a lot of hashtags and a lot of upset around the nominations. Host Chris Rock is a Veteran when it comes to hosting the Academy Awards, the last time he hosted was 2005 and rumor has it that he went off of a script that was written and polished just right to make the awards show go off without a hitch.
Fast forward to 2016 and Rock is back and tackling two of the most important topics of our time #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter. Rock’s jokes were written by him and unless you are completely oblivious they were clearly meant to cause uproar and maybe ruffle a few feathers. This is an Academy Award ceremony we will all be talking about for years not only because Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY won the well deserved Oscar for Best Actor in The Revenant, but because Rock refused to back down when it came to racism, boycotting and making some of the most offensive jokes ever heard at a prestigious affair such as the Academy Awards. Rock has always been a controversial person, so nothing is off limits when he is on stage and let’s be honest, anyone who has seen his stand up comedy, whether live or on television has laughed at least once at a joke that would be considered crude or offensive. Why would the Oscars be any different? In case you missed the big night and needed a breakdown, here is a list of a few of the more awkward jokes Rock laid out.
10. The Girl Guides
Chris Rock took the opportunity to share a fatherly moment at the Academy Awards. He wanted his “daughters” to make as much money selling Girl Guide Cookies as they possibly could so he conveniently sent the troops out to beg for sales in the crowd full of deep pocketed celebs who no doubt had to have been starving by that point. However, the joke turned sour when it was revealed the following day that the $65,000 plus dollars that was supposedly made was amped up to make the Oscars look good. A spokesperson for the Girl Guides said that they only really made just over $2000 and they had been the butt of a celebrity joke.
9. When He Called Out Black People In The 60’s
Chris asked a question a lot of other people are asking this year: Why of all years is this the year to protest? Racism was in the Academy before this 88th year, but unfortunately he was brutally honest when he gave his answer and made quite a few people squirm in their seats. He stated, “Why all the protests this year? This is the 88th Academy Awards and I’m sure this has happened at least 71 times before. I’m sure there were years in the ’50s and ’60s where black people didn’t get nominated. But we had better things to protest. We were too busy getting r*ped and lynched to care who was up for best cinematographer. When your grandma is swinging from a tree, it’s kind of hard to get worked up about best foreign film.” Damn that’s awkward.
8. The Little Accountants
The racism jokes were not limited to only one race, as Rock even threw in a joke about tiny Asian children being the official accountants responsible for counting the ballots for the winners. Rock introduced the team of PricewaterhouseCoopers, calling them Ming Zu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz. Clearly Rock is playing up the stereotype of Asians excelling at math as he followed up his joke with, “if anyone is upset about that joke, just Tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids.” Needless to say, a lot of people were upset and some people did not know if they should laugh or take a bathroom break.
7. Actors & Actresses
One joke that almost slipped out of the spotlight focused on the gender divide that the Oscars have been playing up for the last 88 years. Separating the Best Female Actor and Best Male Actor categories has long been a controversy that not many bothered to support. However, with Chris calling the shots that night he decided a De Niro joke would be his best bet, continuing with “Robert De Niro has never said “I better slow this acting down so Meryl can catch up””. While the crowd got a good chuckle out of the joke, Twitter was slightly less forgiving as people took to the social media site to express their upset.
6. White People’s Choice Awards
Chris Rock started the ceremony by saying “Welcome to the Oscars, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards”. This joke could only indicate what was to come for the rest of the night. While the joke was shocking to hear it definitely set a tone that no one was expecting. No one really thought that Rock would have the gall to get up there and make the whole ceremony focused on racism in Hollywood. The audience was shocked nonetheless but still gave out a few laughs, however this should have indicated that Chris Rock brought his A-game and had no intentions of backing down.
5. The Stacey Dash Debacle
Chris Rock presented a failed joke about midway through the show when he brought out the self hating, openly republican actress Stacey Dash to walk on stage left and flash a smile. Rock introduced her as the “director of minority outreach” but the context behind the joke was to point out that she too seems to have a problem with her own black people. The evidence is all over the internet but mostly on Fox as she openly rallies against Obama being our president and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Needless to say, most people did not get the joke and the ones that did had no interest in acknowledging Stacey Dash.
A huge disappointment that came from the Oscars this year was that all around bada** Michael B. Jordan was not nominated in the Best Actor category nor was the highly successful and much loved film Creed, nominated in any category. What was a bit off was that Sylvester Stallone was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category which had a lot of people scratching their heads. Rock described the situation in a pretty understandable way, as he stated that “things are changing, we’ve got a black Rocky this year! And this is outstanding because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes – it’s a science fiction movie!” Does anyone disagree?
3. The Joke About The Cops
#BlackLivesMatter was all over the Oscars this year and one of the more memorable jokes involved the cops. Rock was not scared to shine a light on some of the grittier things that have been happening to black people this year, since being snubbed was not the only thing many had to deal with. Rock joked about the in-memoriam package being dedicated to the black lives lost recently. “This year things are going to be a little different … This year in the in-memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.” However, looking out into the crowd you could see some very uncomfortable faces. Was it the right choice?
2. Racist Hollywood?
Hollywood got called out for a topic that most people have been afraid to tackle for years. Rock had one of the biggest platforms in Hollywood and he took ample advantage to tell the world that Hollywood is intolerant. Rock’s joke went a little something like, “is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right. But Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘we like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.'” One can imagine that a few sororities would be pretty offended by his joke and cannot wait to see the backlash from this one. If you thought those little accountants were upset you have yet to see a bunch of rowdy sorority chicks.
1. Calling Out Jada
We all remember when Jada Pinkett Smith went on a rant about #Oscarssowhite and her super talented husband Will Smith, not getting nominated in the Best Actor category. Well did anyone think that Chris Rock would avoid touching on this delicious topic during his monologue? He hit back at Jada with what most would call a shot below the belt. He went on record stating “Jada [Pinkett Smith] boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited”. He is right, how do you consciously boycott an event that you were not even invited to? And knowing her career, she may never be invited either.