Oscars 2016 Recap: Blinded By The White

The 88th annual Academy Awards, Hollywood’s Most Glamourous Snooze Fest, were held last night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the Oscars were mired in controversy this year due to the total and complete lack of black nominees for the second year running. We’ve talked about it, Jada Pinkett Smith has talked about it, probably your mildly racist grandparents have talked about it; it’s been discussed ad nauseum since the nominations were announced. Basically, unless you were being held captive in a shed or recovering from a savage bear attack in the wilderness, you knew that shit was going down in Hollywood tonight. The only question remaining was this: how would host Chris Rock navigate this uncomfortable marathon of an award show? Answer: like a fucking champion.

We watched all 3.5 hours of Hollywood’s collective circle jerk just so we could come back here and report the only important 30 minutes back to you. No need to thank us, we were drunk the entire time anyways.

Chris Rock Slays

After Jada’s magnanimous blessing and a whole lot of uncomfortable speculation, no one really knew how Chris Rock was going to handle hosting the Oscars. It turns out none of us needed to be concerned, because he showed up guns blazing and absolutely killed it. Instead of awkwardly skirting around the elephant in the room, Chris dove right in with an entire opening monologue dedicated to the topic of #OscarsSoWhite. His jokes were hilarious, aggressive, and poignant, equal parts unapologetic and thoughtful. It turns out Jada was right; there was no better man for the job.

Are there bigger issues in race relations currently other than who’s being nominated for Best Actor? Definitely. Does that mean that Hollywood gets off scot-free for snubbing countless deserving performances? Hell no. Chris managed to make everyone laugh, and some people squirm, while communicating his simple but necessary message: black actors deserve the same opportunities as white ones.

If you drank every time the camera shot to a white celebrity in the crowd deciding how to appropriately react to the no bars jokes, you probably would have blacked out before they even got to Best Screenplay. In typical Chris Rock fashion, he didn’t shy away from uncomfortable subject matter. Instead, he addressed the issue head on, and in doing so managed to both show his support for inclusion while still doing his job and putting on an entertaining show. Some of his best lines of the night are listed below, but do yourself a favor and watch the entire monologue so you understand what everyone is talking about at work for the rest of the week.

  • “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job! You’d all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
  • “I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years, say ‘62 or ‘63. Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematography. When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.”
  • “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
  • “Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it’s not the racist you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’”
  • “Jamie Foxx is so good in Ray that they went to the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles. They’re like, ‘We don’t need two of these.’”
  • “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 … Yes I said it!”

Plus this entire bit about recreating scenes from nominated movies with black actors. I would pay real money to watch a Tracy Morgan reboot of The Danish Girl.

The Good

Let’s get this out of the way now: Leo finally won an Oscar. For the love of God, please let the jokes die. During his acceptance speech he gave a shout-out to global warming and didn’t have a single word for his everlasting love for Kate Winslet. I personally felt robbed.

Other big wins of the night: Brie Larson took home a much deserved Best Actress for her role in The Room, Spotlight won Best Picture, and Alejandro Inarritu won for Best Director of The Revenant. If you pretend to care about the other awards, you can look them up elsewhere.

The single best thing to come from this award season is light of my life Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson’s nine-year-old co-star in The Room. He has stolen America’s hearts with his perfectly coiffed hair and love of Star Wars, and honestly the show would have been improved by flashing to him every 10 seconds for a reaction shot. Thank you Canada, this is your best contribution to the world since Ryan Gosling.

Lady Gaga brought down the house with her powerful performance of ‘Til It Happens to You, which was nominated for Song of the Year. She was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden who, it bears mentioning, used to look like this #neverforget.

Gaga was joined on stage by real survivors of sexual assault, and she sounded like a goddamned angel while she screamed into her microphone and gesticulated wildly at the crowd. It was enough to detract from the elephantine cuffs on her white jumpsuit.

The Weird

Sarah Silverman took a few minutes out of presenting Sam Smith’s performance for Song of the Year to let everyone know that she got ghosted on by James Bond and that, despite popular opinion, he has a tiny dick. It was a strange, but welcome interlude in a night full of stilted and awkward speeches by people who work behind the scenes for a reason.

Jared Leto brought up merkins while presenting for Best Hair and Makeup, and then told everyone who was confused to Google it. Word to the wise: DON’T Google it.

The 2016 Academy Awards, sponsored by… Girl Scouts? Like any good parent, Chris Rock showed up to work and pimped out his daughter’s Girl Scout Cookies so that they could take home the coveted highest sales prize, which is probably like an iPod Touch or something Chris could def just buy his daughter. Whatevs. Unlike most other parents, Chris’ job was hosting the Oscars, which lead to some fun footage of people wearing ensembles that costs more than your yearly salary hopping over each other for a box of Thin Mints. Yet to be seen: footage of Jennifer Lawrence barreling down every person in attendance to be first in line.

And The Straight Up Bad

Easily the most awkward ten seconds of the night occurred when Stacey Dash (better known as Dionne from Clueless) showed up to publically support Black History Month, which is probably the most pro-black thing she’s ever done in her life. This is weird but relevant because Stacey, who has fallen from her Beverly Hills pedestal to become a Fox News pundit, announced on live television a few weeks ago that the only way to combat the lack of diversity at the Oscars would be to get rid of Black History month and BET, because they alienate white people. Her appearance was greeted by actual crickets while Chris Rock laughed his ass off across the stage. Honestly, Chrissy Teigen’s face says it all.

Sam Smith took home the award for Song of the Year, and would have gotten off blunder-free with his acceptance speech dedicated to the LGBT community if it weren’t for the tiny mishap in which he said he was the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. This statement, which he took from an Ian McKellan interview, was close to being true: there has never been an openly gay actor to win. However, prolifically gay man Elton John, among others, has also won an Academy Award for Best Song, so the sentiment fell a bit short. We can probably chalk up his lack of fact-checking to nerves and champagne. Better luck next time, Sam.