Worst: Harris Undermining His 'Best and Whitest' Joke
Harris cut right to the controversy that has consumed this awards season by opening with, "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest. Sorry — I mean brightest." It was a safe but still pointed jab at the uniformity of last night's nominees: All but one of the eight films up for Best Picture concerned a white man, and the exception (Selma, obviously) was denied nods for both star David Oyelowo and filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first African American female to be nominated for the Best Director award. But then, The Help's Octavia Spencer was practically treated like help when she was ordered not to snack (?!?) so she could partake in a prolonged and not entirely satisfying magic trick, and Oyelowo was drafted into a joke that insulted the Annie reboot starring Quvenzhané Wallis. If it was an attempt to make the proceedings more inclusive, it was at best tone-deaf. This is just yet another reason why the Academy needs to do a better job of acknowledging and honoring diversity — so its hosts don’t overcommit to awkward, self-conscious stunts.