It was another night of self-congratulating stars, passionate speeches being interrupted by play-’em-off music (“Ride of the Valkyries”? Really???), and several genuine upsets (Rylance over Stallone; Spotlight over The Revenant) — as well as a scorching Oscars monologue that will go down as one for the ages. There were inspirational and uplifting moments, there were cue-the-sad-trombone gags gone wrong, and then there was Stacey Dash wishing everyone a “Happy Black History month.” Here are the 20 best, worst and genuinely WTF moments from last night’s Oscars 2016 broadcast. Here’s hoping we see Rock back next year on that stage and Ali G is nowhere to be found.
Best: Chris Rock addresses #OscarsSoWhite head on
There was no way that Rock wouldn’t talk about the controversy over the lack of diversity at this year’s Academy Awards — and of course, the comedian didn’t pull any punches. “Is Hollywood racist?” he asked. “You’re damn right it’s racist!” Over the course of his fantastic opening speech, he cracked plenty of extremely cutting jokes (“This year the ‘In Memoriam’ package is just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies!”) while also pointing out some deeply uncomfortable truths about diversity at the awards show. (As to why the firestorm over the lack of black nominees is only happening this year: “Cause we had real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer.” Damn!) “We want opportunities,” he said towards the end, pounding his fist for emphasis. Maybe now, the Academy will listen.
Worst: The anti-Will and Jada Smith sentiment
Even if Chris Rock wanted to be fair by ribbing each side, why relentlessly mock two people who decided to take a stand? First of all, Rock’s joke likening Jada’s boycott of the ceremony to Rihanna’s underwear was so tasteless that it didn’t even make sense, and it was in keeping with other clueless remarks about asking women what they’re wearing, Asian children’s math skills, etc. Did the diversity argument just not apply when the host of the evening didn’t want it to? Second of all, taking more shots at Will Smith by honoring Jack Black in the “Black History Month Minute” segment was straight-up dumb. If Rock had run out of ways to tackle the topic, he should have changed the subject. There was altogether more talk about diversity than actual diversity — an overcorrection or a mea culpa that rang hollow after so many hours.