Chris Rock's Oscars Beef: 'We Want Opportunity'

Host touches on diversity in Hollywood, slams Jada Pinkett Smith
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2016 8:29 PM CST

Chris Rock's cryptic tweet on Friday about a "blackout" had many wondering what the comedian had in store for his second turn hosting the Academy Awards (Weinstein Co. co-chair Harvey Weinstein, for one, predicted Rock would "annihilate" Hollywood, per the Hollywood Reporter). This anticipation was spawned by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, a protest not only against the fact that nominations in the award show's major categories don't adequately represent people of color or those in the LGBT community, but also that the film industry overall is lacking in its opportunities for minorities. And Rock addressed the issue as soon as the opening scenes from this year's nominated films came to a close. "Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage!" he exclaimed, per the Washington Post.

He explained that he didn't boycott the show as some black luminaries were doing because the "last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart" and that "Jada [Pinkett Smith] boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!" He also wondered aloud why there hadn't been as big of a protest during the previous 87 award shows. His conclusion? Black people have had bigger things to worry about. "We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer," he said. "When your grandmother's swinging from the tree, it's really hard to care about best documentary foreign short." But he turned serious as he summed up the issue in Hollywood: "We want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities. That's it." (More Oscars stories.)

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