Comedian Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS8FZA
Chris Rock addressed Hollywood’s diversity controversy and Leonardo DiCaprio and “Spotlight” took home two of the biggest awards at Sunday night’s 88th Academy Awards.
“I counted at least 15 black people on that montage,” Rock joked after he hit the Oscar stage Sunday night after clips from the year’s nominated films were shown. “You realize if they nominated hosts I wouldn’t even get this job. You’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
Rock addressed the pressure on him to boycott the show, saying he “thought about quitting, I thought about it real hard,” before realizing, “They’re gonna have the Oscars anyway!”
Rock also gave his thoughts on racism in Hollywood.
“Everyone wants to know in the world, is Hollywood racist?” he said. “Is it ‘burning cross racist’? No. Is it ‘fetch me some lemonade racist’? No. It’s a different type of racist. … Hollywood is ‘sorority racist.’ It’s like, we like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”
“We want opportunity,” Rock concluded. “We want black actors to get the same opportunities.”
After Rock’s much-anticipated monologue, the show got down to the business of the evening.
“Spotlight,” a film about a team of Boston Globe journalists who exposed sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, took home Best Picture, beating out favorite “The Revenant.”
Producer Steve Golin addressed the Vatican as he accepted his award, saying “Pope Francis, its time to protect the children and restore the faith.”
Despite losing Best Picture, “The Revenant” collected three Oscars. Star DiCaprio got a standing ovation as he took home his first Best Actor Oscar in his sixth try for his portrayal of frontiersman Hugh Glass in the survival epic. DiCaprio thanked director Alejandro G. Inarritu and co-star Tom Hardy, but saved the majority of his acceptance speech for a plea to fight climate change.
“Our production needed to move to the southern top of this planet just to find snow. Climate change is real. It is happening now,” he said. “Let us not take this planet for granted, I do not take this night for granted.”
Inarritu became the first person in 65 years and only the third ever to win back-to-back Best Director Academy Awards. (He won last year for “Birdman.”) “Leo, you are The Revenant. Thank for giving your soul, your art, your life,” Inarritu said, nodding to DiCaprio, while also thanking Hardy and the film’s Native American cast members.
“The Revenant” cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki collected his third straight Oscar in the category, having won last year for his work on Inarritu’s “Birdman” and 2013’s “Gravity.”
Brie Larson took home Best Actress for “The Room,” Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Danish Girl,” and Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies.” Rylance beat out sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone, who was nominated for his reprise of Rocky Balboa in “Creed.”
Winning his first Oscar at the sixth attempt, 87-year-old Ennio Morricone received Best Original Score for “The Hateful 8,” while “Inside Out” won for Best Animated Feature.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” made most of the night’s early noise, winning six Oscars including Sound Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Costume Design.
Still, it was the diversity issue that dominated the night, with Rock peppering in jokes about the controversy between awards, interviewing African-American moviegoers outside a theater in Compton, Calif., and co-starring in a skit with Tracy Morgan, Whoopi Goldberg, and Leslie Jones where black actors were digitally added to some of the night’s nominated films.
The Oscars have been at the center of a swirling storm over diversity in Hollywood, with protests near the red carpet and some viewers and Hollywood heavyweights like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee skipping the broadcast altogether.
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Sheryl Boone Issacs took the Oscar stage to address her industry’s diversity issue.
“The Oscars celebrate the storytellers who have the opportunity to work in the powerful medium of film – and with that opportunity comes responsibility,” Boone Issacs said. “Everyone in the Hollywood community has a role to play in bringing about the vital changes the industry needs so we can accurately reflect the world today.”
“I am confident that together we can shape a future for which all of us can be proud,” she added.
Actor Kevin Hart (who Rock joked makes “a movie a month”) presented an award and took the opportunity to urge positivity, congratulating all of the night’s nominees. Addressing his fellow African-American entertainment professionals, Hart said “at the end of the day, we love what we do, and we’re breaking major ground doing it. These problems of today will eventually become problems of the old. Let’s not let this negative issue of diversity beat us.”