Chris Rock is rewriting his Oscar monologue to reflect #OscarsSoWhite drama


I tend to believe that the #OscarsSoWhite controversy has blown up to the point where this year’s Oscar telecast will probably be one of the most-watched Oscars in years. It’s not that people are super-interested in seeing Leonardo DiCaprio take home an Oscar for Boy Drama In the Woods, it’s that people are going to tune in to see how the Academy handles the drama in real time, within the Oscar telecast. They’ll also tune in to see Chris Rock’s opening monologue, as they should. Some have said that Rock should step down from hosting the Oscars as a way of protesting #OscarsSoWhite. I’ve never been a believer in a boycott – although I think the boycott talk has been the necessary vehicle by which we’ve been having much-needed conversations about change – and I’ve always hoped that Rock would stick to it and just go HAM as host and make all of those old, white Academy members squirm. And guess what? That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Outrage over the lack of diversity among nominees at the Oscars will not keep Chris Rock from his hosting duties, the show’s producer told ET exclusively. ET’s Nischelle Turner sat down with Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin at the 47th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon on Saturday, where he confirmed that Rock will not be dropping out of the show.

Hudlin also revealed that though the 50-year-old comedian finished writing his monologue a week ago, once the #OscarsSoWhite outrage came to a head with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s pledge to boycott, Rock scrapped his jokes and started working on a new script.

“Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Hudlin told ET. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’ Chris is that thorough. He’s that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”

According to Hudlin, Rock isn’t steering away from the issue of a white-washed group of nominees, but rather diving right into the fire.

“You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin told ET. “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”

[From ET]

Awesome. Make ‘em squirm, Chris. I’m glad he’s not pulling out and I hope he really delivers. But even if he doesn’t… I hope people recognize that Chris Rock is not the face of this problem, you know?

When CB and I were chatting amongst ourselves about the boycott, I said to her that I hoped the Oscar producers would double-down and schedule wall-to-wall people of color to present. The producers were thinking along the same lines – they’re allowing Quincy Jones to speak for five full minutes, and according to Page Six, producers are “scrambling” to schedule “prominent black presenters to dole out its top awards, including Best Picture.” People like Oprah and Morgan Freeman. I would say Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Octavia Spencer, John Boyega and more should be on the presenter list too.

Photos courtesy of Getty, Fame/Flynet.

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59 Responses to “Chris Rock is rewriting his Oscar monologue to reflect #OscarsSoWhite drama”

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  1. Little Darling says:

    Kaiser; your writing has gotten even funnier with the addition of the new writers! “Boy Drama In The Woods” took a moment to roll over me, but when I realized you were talking about The Revenant I laughed so hard my sleeping puppies shook!!

    I think it will be VERY interesting to see how the actors handle it, especially the ones who win. I wonder what kind of acknowledgment will be made, how much it will be discussed. I’m sure the actors are brushing up on their responses to the sure to be asked questions about #OscarsSoWhite.

    ETA: I agree on boycotts being a necessary thing to forward change, but in this case I think it’s much better for Chris Rock and all of the industry people to use the expansive platform to educate and highlight these issues.

  2. nicole says:

    I read this somewhere else so I can’t take credit but it did really strike me – getting black actors to hand out awards to white people seems kind of weird as well as a response. You’re not able to win one of these but hey, you can hand it to the white folk.

    • bammer says:

      Yeah I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t want to be exploited and be up there as an example of how “inclusive” the Academy is when it’s anything but.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yep, I said this in a post yesterday but until we see black actors actually getting treatment and respect there’s nothing honorable about:

      a. Getting invited to sit in the audience for something you were never considered for

      and b. Handing out awards and making punchlines/being part of a punchline when you weren’t considered worth nominating.

      This isn’t necessarilly about Chris, just that non-white coverage of actors suddenly worth inviting (you know, after the controversy not before).

      • YupYepYam says:

        quote: Yep, I said this in a post yesterday but until we see black actors actually getting treatment and respect there’s nothing honorable about:

        a. Getting invited to sit in the audience for something you were never considered for

        and b. Handing out awards and making punchlines/being part of a punchline when you weren’t considered worth nominating.
        Why are you talking as if no non whites has ever been nom/win Oscar before?

    • LookyLoo says:

      This +1000. I hope all non-whites, with the exception of Rock, refuse to attend.

    • Shambles says:

      All of this. It smacks of minstrelsy and it feels really wrong.

    • Alex says:

      Yea I would pass on that. That’s insulting on another level

    • Josefina says:

      I thought the same. “Look, we’re not nominating you until you play a thug or a slave, but meanwhile you can hand the awards to all the other white people we did nominate”.

      I would pass on that.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Thank you. I was just coming here to write something along the same lines. I so agree.

    • Pinky says:

      That’s what I would boycott–being used as a token. “Look at how inclusive we are. You can serve us but make sure to come in the back entrance.”

      F them.


  3. Rosalee says:

    I had considered skipping the Oscars – it’s basically turned into a popularity contest, I remember when there was actual surprises in the nominations and winners yes I am that old. I have reconsidered after reading Rock rewrote his script – now I’ll break out the popcorn and wait to feel the ground shake from hollywood

  4. CFY says:

    My issue with booking wall to wall non white presenters is that now you are having non white people present golden statuettes to white people. Like we’re not good enough to be nominated (oooh but if we’re patient it might happen in the future!!) but we’ll show up and serve you your award on a platter.

    I mean, I get the rationale behind it but this is like when Taylor Swift started her shit with Nicki Minaj and then as a misguided apology said Nicki was welcome to join her in her stage any time. It’s patronizing as hell.

    And anyway, all the acting nods will be presented by white actors since that’s who won last year. I don’t want your token apologies, I want Chris Rock to hold your feet to the fire for 40 hours or however long the ceremony ends up being, and without a 30 second delay too.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Exactly. Best thing Nicki did when it was her time to do a performance was invite Taylor to HER stage right at the tail end of her routine.

  5. Talie says:

    They are missing the point making this completely a black thing, as usual. Like, what about presenters of hispanic or asian backgrounds? You know what would be cool…seeing a Bollywood star get a chance to present. Those movies always do well at the American box office.

    • Courtney says:

      I totally agree. It should be more diversified. Why aren’t they considering Hispanics and Asians to hand out awards?

      • me says:

        Totally agree. If you want to be fair, then be fair. You can’t be like “oh this group of minorities is more important so we’ll just focus on them”. No, if you say you’re going to be DIVERSE, then be DIVERSE !

    • moot says:

      Yup, but more than that, when was the last time an Asian person was cast in a movie where the point of their being there wasn’t the fact of their Asian-ness (i.e. Asian shopkeeper, Asian tiger mom, Asian diplomat, Asian restaurant owner, etc.)? I can only think of one person, Lucy Liu, who gets cast in roles where her origin identity makes no difference to her character’s storyline and doesn’t even get referenced.

      That’s what we want more of in Hollywood: black, Asian, latino, Native American, transgender, gay, female, and anyone being able to play nearly any role in most movies because the gender, colour of their skin, or the origin of their ancestors makes no difference to the fundamental point of the character in the story.

      Personally, I would love to see the kind of diversity I see everyday in my city. Just people, with no need to explain their differences from the “moral” majority and justify their casting. The only thing you need to know is this person is a good actor and can play this role.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    This feels weird to me.

    “You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin told ET. “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”

    Like, this isn’t a roast where a bunch of drunks get together and skewer you and then you all have a big laugh about it. Maybe it is just the way he’s worded it, but it makes it sound like the Academy is anxious for it to prove they can take a joke, not that they’re dedicated to changing how things are done. They’re two different thing. And frankly, making sure that there are tons of POC to hand out awards they apparently weren’t good enough to be nominated for just makes the whole thing cringe-y awkward.

    I’m all for Chris Rock going off script-I guess I would have kept that stuff under the radar so people weren’t prepared for it.

    • kri says:

      ^^^^This-thanks, grabbyhands. Everything I was thinking you wrote in your post.

    • Lama Bean says:

      Truthfully, I think this article is meant to clean up the mess and retain viewers. All those people who were not going to watch (either because they find it boring or they are boycotting) are now interested in watching because they want to see Chris Rock treat this like a roast of white men and white privilege. It’s calculated.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


      We’re not laughing WITH you Academy, you f-ed up AGAIN and now it’s open season on your antiquated forum, not a chance for you to laugh it up at your ‘black friend’.

  7. Grace says:

    People probably will watch only his opening monologue

  8. SKF says:

    Sigh. This is marketing spin. I work in marketing, I should know!! Look how wild he is, watch the show!!

    In any case, this has never been just about black actors. Where are the various Asian, Hispanic and other ethnicities?? Spike and Jada included other ethnicities when they spoke but this seems to have boiled down to just “black and white” for many, which is still not addressing the problem. Until all sexes and ethnicities are fairly represented in Hollywood and in the various awards shows this issue is not fixed. There are a helluva lot of Asians and Hispanics in America, and many other ethnicities too, including Native Americans. These people should all be seen and their stories experienced too and presenters at awards shows should, quite frankly, look like a United Colors of Benetton ad. There are talented and worthy people of all colours, sexes, and sexualities. They should all be given platforms and opportunities for their talent to shine and they should all be visible at one of the biggest events the Arts World has.

    • Grace says:

      I agree

    • Cynthia says:

      Yep, I also feel like this is the way the Academy tries to spin #oscarssowhite in “blacks think they should get any award even if they don’t deserve” when actually it’s about awarding excellence in the whole spectrum of diversity, including all races and sexes.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      When you ask that question I think it’s well intentioned but I also think it’s an example of what the exact issue is.

      Hollywood can barely recognize black talent when that black talent literally built Hollywood alongside the whites.

      Historically white groups have been slow to show empathy and inclusion for other races until protests (much like with the Oscars) happen. Other ethnicities voices keep getting buried because Hollywood STILL doesn’t think they’re important enough to care about.

  9. Cynthia says:

    Eh. I was excited about Chis Rock presenting because he’s the master of poignant and hilarious racial critique but it seems like it’ becoming more and more “white liberals show that they can laugh at themselves.” Also the members of the Academy are framing themselves as victims of some kind of force affirmative action in the press and that pisses me off, especially because that’s not what #oscarssowhite is about. I am not excited about the Academy “scrambling” to look for black presenters to show they’re not racist either. I feel like they still haven’t understood what #oscarssowhite is about, and they are going to poke fun at themselves without making actual changes and improvements.

  10. CornyBlue says:

    Since The Big SHort is going to be winning Best Picture , his burning is all I have left to watch the Oscars for.

  11. QQ says:

    Only thing I can say Is quote Master P: MAKE EM SAY UNNNGGHHH Na Na Na Na

    Sorry That’s all Ive got

    • censored says:

      Naw QQ
      Like I said before people should go expecting to be roasted and he shouldnt crack one darn joke about it , at the end of the ceremony he should simply say I know you were all expecting a lot of #oscarssosowhite Jokes but when I think about its NOT EVEN FUNNy anymore then just drop the mic and walk off stage

  12. Lucy says:

    I’m actually looking forward to it, and I think he’ll deliver. On a superficial note, I can’t believe he’s 50! I thought he was at least 10 years younger.

  13. OrigialTessa says:

    If only people would care as much about actual oppression and discrimination as they do about some coddled disgustingly rich actors being snubbed from an Academy Award nomination: an award given out for an acting performance (read sarcasm). I mean, I get it, but it just shines such a spotlight on what people prioritize and what people deem important. There are people being snubbed from the opportunity to have basic freedoms and liberties. If only the public could get as riled up about them.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      No. Absolutely not. Please don’t try to pull like black people haven’t literally been lining up to fight for themselves against opppression and police brutality for this whole entire past year (as far as the media’s concerned) and for DECADES before that.

      Don’t even try to act as if because black people didn’t simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey it’s cool that there’s an industry in this country, that we BUILT, that consistently devalues and disrespects us. It doesn’t matter if we have representation Or respect in it. Let’s ignore that because it’s fine if there are some areas where black art/lives don’t matter.”

      Really? No, you just haven’t been listening.

  14. Sarah01 says:

    I’m still deciding wether to watch, I might just record it and just watch certain parts of it.

  15. MrsBPitt says:

    Well, I for one will not be watching the Oscars! I usually don’t enjoy the Oscars, anyway. However, I am not going to tune in to hear every presenter, every winner, and the Host of the show, continually slam white America. Slam the Oscars if you want, but, I ask, where are the black movies that came out this past year, that were Oscar worthy and are being snubbed. Where are the amazing black actors, that where fantastic in their roles, that are being snubbed. I think the problem lies more within the movie industry, and I think that the best way to correct the situation, would be for some of these rich, high profile, black actors to put their money into supporting, talented and upcoming, black writers, actors, directors, etc. You know, if Will Smith had been nominated for Concussion, a movie I had never heard of until the Golden Globes, he and Jada would be on that red carpet. Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Tyler Perry, Halle Berry, Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, etc., should put their money, where their mouth is and finance some great works, by talented blacks in Hollywood. Hopefully, then, we will see more and more diversity at the Academy Awards…

  16. serena says:

    I’m glad he isn’t boycotting and I expect great things from him, but mostly I hope people won’t be upset with him.. like you said, he’s not the cause of this, besides I think talking it out at the Oscar is way more powerful and efficient than, say, staying at home.

    Wait wait, he’s 50?????? Another vampire!

  17. censored says:

    Unpopular black opinion here but I dont agree with how this shaping up .The average actor of any color is basically an employee . if I were white why should I sit there and be made to feel guilty or uncomfortable about the decisions that the power brokers made when all I did was audition for a job,plus who are these black sheeple eager to present , if you weren’t asked before , why are you being asked now ????
    Chris can either go remarkably well or backfire into offensive “black people are the real racist “territory, some 15 yrs ago there was a similar furor that focused on the Awards(a symptom) and not the systemic Hollywood PROBLEM in the hiring and green lighting of projects , and nothing major has changed all that happened then was the tokenestic 2001 “Black Oscars” where ” Halle “make me feel good” Berry won an Oscar that IMO she did not deserve and Denzil who is totally deserving was made to be seen as some charity case.

    All I know if this hubbub results in Zoe Saldanza getting an Oscar in 2017 for playing Nina Simone in blackface , I will start burning things LOL

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      I disagree with that mostly because I think that paints the picture as more fair than it really is.

      When you look at patterns in Hollywood and in our country it becomes quite clear it’s not about fairly choosing roles and more about you scratch my back, I scratch yours.

      Would Jennifer Lawrence really be getting all these roles of she weren’t a white, blond, blue eyed actress considered to be very attractive? How does one audition for a role that demands a cast of all-white actors? Why do we consistently see roles for darker black characters lightened up or in your example given to a lighter skinned woman only for her to darken up with makeup (and she can’t even sing…).

      Tbh, I’m enjoying seeing the white actors who love to wax poetic about a myriad of topics finally stumped by explaining the issue of lack of black representation in the films they do.

      • censored says:

        I usually look forward to your comments here but on this Oscar thing we are not a 100% on the same page
        Is there a diversity problem here?Yes Do good performances by POC often get overlooked Yes but where we differ is the focusing on the symptom (Oscars ) rather than the root cause which is Hollywood itself
        Iam 100% with Voila here after all the hubbub and new and improved AMPAS and Chris Rocks ” roasting ” if the power players do not cast or and greenlight POC movies who are they going to vote for ????
        Its also a numbers game , I saw somewhere that there are over 500 speaking roles than can be considered each yr , how many of those are POC ? if we widen the roles for POC/women then there are more to choose from come awards time its as simple as that but rather than look at the numbers some people seem to be saying if there is only one good performance from a POC it must be nominated which is tricky as it can borderline run into tokenism which nobody wants,
        None of what youve posted in your response really negates my initial point and if you are holding all players accountable should we expect Chris to also roast Will Smith “racism is rare / ” I dont feel negatively about diversity in film who hasnt been cast with a BW in over 15 yrs? What about Morgan Freeman “the best way to fix racism is not to talk about it ” they had well respected voices & DID NOTHING for yrs

  18. FingerBinger says:

    Of course Rock is going to make jokes about #oscarssowhite. He’d be criticized if he didn’t. Hopefully his jokes are funny. Rock isn’t always funny. He yells and repeats phrases and calls it comedy.

    • Pandy says:

      I hope he gives a good monologue etc. Did anyone catch SNL on the weekend? The way they addressed the controversy in their awards sketch? Hilarious.

  19. ls_boston says:

    As something ne said above, I Don’t see how stacking a wall of minority actors to dole out awards to the “deserving few” equilibriates the scene. Seems to compound the problem if anything.

    “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need.”

    This sounds bizarre – like “the Academy” doesn’t realise they are the ones the collective ire is against. Who do they think the roasting is targetted at? Aren’t these the chaps responsible for the selections? (Admittedly the other half of the criticism should be able rightly against the studios who have such limited oeuvre – only telling such limited stories as about white suburbia …

  20. angela says:

    So the president of the Academy is a BLACK WOMAN … And I’m assuming as president she sees the entire list of nominees BEFORE it’s made public…. And I’m assuming as president she has sway/vote for nominees…. So if she, as a BLACK WOMAN was seemingly OK with the nominees, my question is…. Who didn’t deserve to be nominated? Who should lose their nomination simply because they are not black? Statisticly speaking there are fewer blacks in the industry….that being what it is, isn’t it logical to think there would be more white people nominated? So isn’t the real problem the producers, play writers and directors who aren’t working with more of a rainbowed cast? Which I find hilariously ironic since the vast majority of Hollywood is a bunch of “equal rights” liberals.

    • MD says:

      I thought Jennifer Lawrence could’ve stepped aside to make way for Idris Elba. She wasn’t “all that” in her role.

      • FingerBinger says:

        How could Jennifer Lawrence step aside for Idris Elba? She steps aside and they put him in the best actress category? That doesn’t make sense.

      • Josefina says:

        Idris is a woman?

      • Avril says:

        How can J-Law step ‘aside’ for idris elba??? She is a female up for Best Actress. Idris a male and would have been up for Best Actor!
        Come on!

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      1. So she as a single woman should go to individual members of the Academy and tell them to change their votes? Could you even imagine the uproar? As a BLACK WOMAN she wouldn’t have the job long.

      2. Statistically speaking there are fewer blacks trained, recruited, hired, and given jobs so yes that works out to less black talent in comparison to whites. Not, no black talent in comparison to whites…for two years…and decades more before that.

      3. I think people are mistaken in what they perceive liberal to be. Hollywood has always struck me as very conservative with a liberal paint job. They don’t do or notice anything until it’s blatantly pointed out to them and they’re exposed for it. Even then they rarely respond (as has been shown in the past).

    • Bridget says:

      How exactly do you think this works?

  21. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    I hope he gives them hell but I’m still not watching.

    Also, no. Black people’s jobs are not to show up to an event, hand out awards to all white people, and then party like that’s not frustrating as hell.

    That bugged me last time watching David Oyelowo not get an award but show up just to watch NPH do a cringey bit on how his last name is just so hard to pronounce. (But don’t worry all the famous white talent throughout history can be perfectly pronounced. Right Dostoyevsky?)

    It’s not funny anymore, I don’t know if it ever was.

  22. MD says:

    Quote: “You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin told ET. “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”

    So…instead of the jokes causing the Academy to squirm and feel ashamed for the lack of diversity, Chris Rock’s anticipated monologue is making it feel…entertained and excited? Hmmm…something ain’t right about that.

  23. Bridget says:

    Honest question: if we were to go out into the street and ask people if they were familiar with the #oscarssowhite controversy, would they know what we were talking about? Because I think this is a controversy that feels huge on the interweb and those that follow entertainment gossip, but I truly question whether or not this is the kind of controversy that will suddenly drum up more viewers. Not to mention, the people that are familiar with it because they’re passionate about diversity and equal rights may very well not be inspired to watch anyhow. I’m not questioning the validity, but whether folks outside the internet-land are really familiar with what’s going on.

    • FingerBinger says:

      The average person doesn’t care if Idris Elba got an oscar nomination or not. I do think the person on the street would know about the controversy because #oscarssowhite has been everywhere. I also think it’s Internet outrage. The oscars will air then we’ll move on to something else.

    • Avril says:

      Many people don’t care about the Oscars in reality, and we don’t care if the Smiths boycott it or not. There are bigger things to worry about. Maybe Jada and Will should put this kind of effort into taking care of their children rather then moan about not getting the golden little man.

  24. Dirty Martini says:

    Chris Rock has the ability to speak uncomfortable truths while still making you laugh uproariously. Can’t wait to see what he does. Having said that, I was quite bemused to find myself in the same camp as Nick Canon who came out and said it was wasting voice to bemoan wanting. A gold statue …….. So many other issues that actually matter more than an ego boost trophy……

  25. Abigail says:

    If this broadcast is even half as preachy and self-righteous as it sounds, it will be unbearable. I won’t be watching.