Academy Awards: Chris Rock takes shot at #OscarsSoWhite

Outspoken black comedian hosting the Oscars employs humour to handle the controversy over diversity at the film awards.

    Chris Rock used humour to handle the controversy over a lack of diversity at the Oscars [Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
    Chris Rock used humour to handle the controversy over a lack of diversity at the Oscars [Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]

    Academy Awards host Chris Rock pulled no punches in taking aim at the #OscarsSoWhite controversy dominating Hollywood.

    Oscars 2016: The Winners

    Best picture: Spotlight

    Actor in a leading role: Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant

    Actress in a leading role: Brie Larson - Room

    Actor in a supporting role: Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies

    Actress in a supporting role: Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

    Animated feature film: Inside Out

    Cinematography: The Revenant

    Costume design: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Directing: The Revenant

    Documentary feature: Amy

    Documentary short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

    Film editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Foreign language film: Son of Saul

    Make-up and hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Music - original score: The Hateful Eight

    Music - original song: Writing's on the wall - Spectre

    Production design: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Short film - animated: Bear Story

    Short film - live action: Stutterer

    Sound editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Sound mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Visual effects: Ex Machina

    Writing - adapted screenplay: The Big Short

    Writing - original screenplay: Spotlight

    Rock - the outspoken black comedian chosen to host the Oscars months before the selection was announced of an all-white acting nominee line-up for the second year running - welcomed viewers to what he called "the white People's Choice awards" on Sunday night.

    Speculating on why the furore over diversity in the industry had taken root this year, rather than in the 1950s or 1960s, Rock said black Americans had "real things to protest at the time".

    "We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematography," he said. "When your grandmother's swinging from a tree, it's really hard to care about best documentary foreign short."

    Turning to the present day, Rock joked that things would be different at Sunday's Academy Awards, saying the traditional segment honouring stars who died is "just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies".

    A few blocks away from the glamour of Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, about 40 people gathered to make the case for more diversity in a rally organised by civil rights leader Al Sharpton.

    Sharpton called for Americans to "tune out" the live telecast, the most watched non-sports TV event of the year.

    Director Spike Lee, who shunned the Academy Awards ceremony along with actor Will Smith, instead attended a New York Knicks basketball game on Sunday.

    However, a wider Oscar boycott largely failed to gather steam as black celebrities - including Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Pharrell Williams and John Legend - all showed up.

    "I really want to be part of the conversation so we have institutional change, so we never have a year like this again," Washington told ABC television on the red carpet.

    The under-representation of people of colour in the film and TV industry prompted pledges to bring more women and minorities into the industry and the Academy.

    In one pre-taped parody, Rock ventured in a tuxedo to a cinema in the predominantly black Los Angeles suburb of Compton to ask several African-American moviegoers there whether they had seen any of the films nominated this year for best picture. None had.

    But all said they had seen, and enjoyed, the critically acclaimed hip-hop drama Straight Outta Compton, which failed to earn a place in the best picture contest.

     Oscars 2016: Hollywood prepares for its biggest night

    SOURCE: Reuters


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