The Academy Awards have come and gone, but for the producers of the show, it’s already time to figure out who’s going to host the next Oscars.
This year’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, did okay…but people had some issues with some of his jokes; mainly, what folks had problems with was Kimmel’s penchant for making fun of people’s names, including Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali and one of the members of the surprise tourist group who were led into the theater for a laugh. He didn’t really need to make fun of their names, because it gave many people, particularly people of color, flashbacks to when their names were made fun of growing up.
So, who could host next year? There’s a good chance it could go to Kevin Spacey, since he’s a triple-threat of an actor—he can act, dance, and sing. But how will #OscarsSoWhite play into things? Perhaps the Oscars are trying to keep their PR trend of seeming more inclusive going. (I’m sounding very cynical about the Oscars; they’re genuinely trying to be more inclusive, but in Hollywood, you better believe there’s some PR politics at play as well).
Maybe they’ll tap one of this year’s Academy winners or nominees, like two-time Oscar-nominated Taraji P. Henson, to host. Henson would make a great host; she has already hosted several variety Empire-themed variety shows for FOX, and she’s also multitalented as well; as we found out in Hustle & Flow, Henson has a great singing voice. Also, she’s naturally funny and charming, so she’ll certainly make the Oscars entertaining.
At this point, the race is wide open for the coveted position of Oscar host. Who do you think will secure the hosting duties for next year? Give your comments below!
1. Chris Rock made everyone uncomfortable, and rightly so.
For a full month, I was on the edge of my seat waiting on what Rock would have to say, and I wasn’t disappointed. Rock is known for going for the jugular, and during the Oscars, he not only went for the jugular, but he went for all the major arteries in Hollywood’s body with glee. He made fun of everything, including Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith just being mad because Will Smith wasn’t up for Concussion (remember how Pinkett Smith started the boycott talk?) and the Oscars itself, calling it the “White People’s Choice Awards.”
Rock was put in a very difficult position to post the awards show in the midst of controversy, but he seemed more than up to the task. Even with all of the insults and jabs he leveled at Hollywood and those in the audience, I have a feeling we saw Rock holding back. If he really wanted to make people mad with the truth, he’d know exactly how to do it. But coming on stage with Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” playing in the background, telling a room full of the Hollywood elite that Hollywood is undoubtedly racist, showing a video of black people outside a Compton movie theater talking about film inequalities, and introducing Michael B. Jordan as someone who should have been nominated are all great ways to make people uncomfortable. What I wonder is how many of the “liberal” folks in the audience thought Rock wasn’t talking about them, despite him clearly saying he was addressing the “liberals” of Hollywood. That’s the unspoken joke of the night.
There were three moments in Rock’s time as host that made my jaw drop on the floor:
- During the Black History Moment taped segment with Angela Bassett, I could have sworn that the joke was setting up towards another elaborate jab at Will Smith. Maybe I was reading too much into the joke, but with the set up (and the choice of films, like Shark Tale), I was so sure a takedown of Smith’s career was coming, especially in light of what Rock had said about them in the monologue. The joke actually was making fun of Jack Black being in a lot of Will Smith movies, which led me to breathe out a sigh of relief.
- How did Rock and co. get Stacey Dash to play a part in her own takedown? Did she know what the joke was? Did she know she was the joke? In any event, I was floored. The Weeknd’s face told the story.
- The taped segment in which Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, and others showed how tough it is for black actors to get parts. The takedown of Joy was my particular favorite.
Could more have been said about all minorities who are marginalized in the industry? Certainly. There was only one guy all night who talked about how the Oscar should belong to everyone, and it was one of the guys outside of the Compton theater. Some folks were getting on Rock for not discussing the plight of all minorities in Hollywood. I’ll say that for myself, I recognized how I would have handled the situation, which is talk about how all people who are not part of white Hollywood are blocked out of all of Hollywood’s creative process, but I am not Chris Rock. Rock handled it from his perspective, and his perspective is just what he presented last night—the black American experience. Would it have been nice if a bone was thrown to everyone affected? Yes. The Native cast members of The Revenant, Byung-hun Lee, Sofia Vergara, and many of the other non-black POC presenters don’t have the same opportunities either, some less so. Could his monologue have wrongly cemented it in people’s minds that #OscarsSoWhite is only about black people? It most certainly could have. With that said, I still think Rock’s hosting duties accomplished what it needed to, which is to shame the Academy on its biggest night.
2. The tonal shifts of the Oscars.
Between Rock laying it on thick about Hollywood’s “sorority racist” mode of business and other presenters like Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman looking like they’d rather be anywhere else during certain points of the night, the rest of the presenters pretended to be cautious and/or unaware as they presented awards that, overall, only showed how white the Oscars actually are.
Even more uncomfortable were the additions of scores of non-white presenters. One reason I keep mentioning Jordan is that he should have been nominated. Heck, a lot of the presenters should have been nominated, like Abraham Attah for Beasts of No Nation. I say more presenters should have looked upset. In any event, the night was clearly an uncomfortable one for most people in attendance (and for most people in attendance, deservedly so).
3. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs doubles down on diversity, asks room to do the same
I did like Boone Isaacs’ speech about the Academy’s pledge to do better, and I especially liked that she asked others in the audience to do the same. The actors are routinely forgotten about facilitators in Hollywood’s game, but on some level, they share culpability for continuing Hollywood’s mode of business. They themselves could change how films are made just by refusing to take on certain roles. For instance, if an actor or actress gets a role to play a traditionally Asian or Mexican character, they could decide not to take it in the hopes that it’ll actually go to an actor or actress that properly fits the bill.
4. Lady Gaga reminded us that it really is on us.
I think the most powerful song of the night was definitely Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens to You” for the documentary The Hunting Ground. Gaga’s emotional performance, coupled with the on-stage appearances of many victims of sexual assault and rape, really drove home the point of V.P. Biden’s speech beforehand; it’s truly on us to stop others from becoming sexual assault victims.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio finally gets his Oscar!
Everyone, including the Best Actor nominees, stood up in applause for DiCaprio’s win. It was a win that has taken many years to earn, but he finally did it. He also gave us yet another great speech, in which he outlines how important it is for us to address climate change.
What did you think of the night? What were your favorite moments? Which moments didn’t you like? (Ali G. is on my list.) Write about it in the comments section!
EDIT: I did forget to mention the joke about the little Asian kid accountants. That joke really fell flat to me because 1) I didn’t get it and 2) what was the message, if there was one? In any case, it, along with Sacha Baron Cohen-as-Ali G’s joke comparing the Minions to Asian people were low points of the night.
You’ve probably been hearing about the All Def Movie Awards. The event, which will air via Fusion and sponsored by Fusion, CROSS Pens, ADD, Ciroc, and Celsius, has been thought of as an answer to the Oscars, but it aims to be much more than that; it hopes to acknowledge and honor the talent Hollywood as in industry routinely neglects.
“The All Def Movie Awards are meant to fill a generational and cultural void — just as the MTV Movie Awards did,” said Sanjay Sharma, President and CEO of ADD. “FUSION is the perfect partner to celebrate the uncelebrated, and use comedy to encourage honest dialogue and action.”
The All Def Movie Awards celebrate the year’s best films in categories that are both traditional and light-hearted. Members of the public voted on two categories, which included Best Picture contenders BEASTS OF NO NATION, CHI-RAQ, CONCUSSION, CREED, DOPE and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. Other awards during the show will honor Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director as well as Best Bad Muh F**ka and other often overlooked categories, such as Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a Movie. Legendary actor and recording artist Will Smith will be recognized with the ADMA’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, and writer, producer, director and social activist Norman Lear will receive the Vanguard Award for his enduring contributions to entertainment that helped foster an essential dialogue about race and race relations. Tony Rock hosts the special which features celebrity guests including Tyrese Gibson, Nick Cannon, Terry Crews, Marlon Wayans, Vivica A. Fox, King Bach, Sannaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Robert Townsend, Bill Duke, Gary Owen, and Jerrod Carmichael, among others.
The event recently wrapped up, and the first images from the black carpet and backstage have been released!
Celebrities, including Michael Ealy, Robin Thicke, Tony Rock, Robert Townsend, Russell Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Amber Rose, Marlon Wayans, Ice Cube, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon, Michael Yo, Tyrese Gibson, Mike Epps stopped to Make their Mark with CROSS Pens by signing a commemorative poster. The poster will be auctioned to raise funds for #FlintKids, which is supporting the children and families affected by Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.
Here’s more about CROSS Pens:
CROSS has always championed the pursuit of greatness. From the spark that inspires a passion. To the hard work and creativity needed to make it happen. It takes courage and a lot of heart, but those who take this path are the ones who make their mark on this world.
The story of the CROSS brand begins in 1846 when artisan Richard Cross, in partnership with his son Alonzo Townsend Cross revolutionized fine writing instruments. Their early mark of entrepreneurial excellence included tools refined through more than 100 patents and accented by the spoils of the California gold rush. Still positioned to set the bar for what it means to symbolize achievement, human potential and usable luxury, CROSS seeks to provide those possessing extraordinary vision and a strong entrepreneurial spirit with the tools needed to make their mark. How do you #MAKEYOURS?
The All Def Move Awards will air this Sunday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m. on Fusion.
Photo credit: Brady Willis
Last week, the Oscar nominations came out, and people were livid. A week later, people have gone from just “livid” to “activated by anger.” Injecting my personal opinion for a moment: I’d say being activated by anger is a much more effective state of being rather than just being outraged. Now that folks have become fueled by their disappointment, it seems like it’s finally become inevitable that the Oscars must change (mostly because they’re being forced to change). Here’s what’s happening so far.
•Spike Lee, Michael Moore and Jada Pinkett Smith are boycotting the Oscars. Lee put out a statement on Instagram:
#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?! WTF!! It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right”. For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The “Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap. This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont’d)
And Pinkett Smith put out a video suggesting that POC actors create their own form of recognition outside of the Oscars. (Also: yes, I know about Janet Hubert’s—aka Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—video “discussing” Pinkett Smith. No, I’m not talking about it; I’d recommend going to Awesomely Luvvie for a hilarious play-by-play of the video).
Snoop Dogg backed up Pinkett Smith’s call to boycott, saying in a very succinct way, “Fuck the Oscars, fuck the Grammys,” saying how the “old slavery bullshit-ass awards show” model and the Hollywood industry takes minority culture without acknowledging where the culture came from.
Moore told The Wrap that he’s “happy” to join the boycott, saying, “I thought about this all day, and I don’t plan to go to the show, I don’t plan to watch it and I don’t plan to go to an Oscar party. And I say that as a proud member of the Academy, as someone who still sits on the executive board [of the Documentary Branch], as someone who knows full well that [AMPAS president] Cheryl [Boone Isaacs] and [CEO] Dawn Hudson are doing their best to fix the situation.” He also said that having no diverse nominations two years in a row is “crazy,” and that “if it will help to lend my name to what Spike and Jada are doing, I’m hoping to be a symbolic participant in this [boycott].”
Al Sharpton is also calling for a boycott, so the situation right now is fluid, probably right up until the Oscars this February.
• Numerous stars are speaking out against the Oscars’ all-white nominations, including Straight Outta Compton producer Will Packer, who said to his Academy colleagues “WE HAVE TO DO BETTER. Period.”
George Clooney told Today, “I think African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough.” He also talked about how women and Hispanics aren’t getting recognized enough in the industry as well. “I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?”
Don Cheadle joked that the only job he’d be able to have at the Oscars is parking cars:
— Don Cheadle (@IamDonCheadle) January 17, 2016
and David Oyelowo has sounded off on the Oscars, saying during an evening honoring Boone Isaacs, “This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation,” he said at the King Legacy Awards. “The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved,” he said. He spoke about meeting with Boone Isaacs after Selma, discussing what went wrong during last year’s nominations (as you might remember, Selma was also at the center of nomination snubbing controversy). “We had a deep and meaningful [conversation]. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.” He, like everyone who has commented on this, expressed support for Boone Isaacs and the hope that she continues the work needed to get the problem fixed.
• Boone Isaacs herself issued a longer statement after her initial comments about the Oscar nominations. The comments, below, feature an intense expression of getting the ball rolling even faster.
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016
Overall, the focus has been primarily on black actors and filmmakers being recognized, but let’s not forget all of the other minorities (race, gender, sexual orientation) that haven’t been acknowledged in film for so long, if ever. For instance, The Revenant features First Nations actors, but the film itself isn’t primarily following the story of a First Nations person; it’s following Leonardo DiCaprio. Also, there hasn’t been a single American film featuring an Asian lead or Asian cast nominated, ditto for American-made Hispanic and Spanish films. Also don’t forget that films like Tangerine, which features trans women of color, didn’t get a nod, while an establishment film like Carol and The Danish Girl did, even though the latter two films do represent otherwise overlooked stories.
In short, the Academy has to learn that a human being doesn’t just fit into one mold. Stories that are recognized need to show humanity in all its complexity; a trans woman or man of color wants to see themselves on screen just like an Asian woman who is also a lesbian or a black straight man who is also part Native American. There are so many intersections in a person’s life, and it makes too much sense that the film and TV industry represent that and recognize that for its achievement. TV has made great strides this year, and diverse TV of all kinds were given well-deserved accolades. It’s time film get on the same pioneering path TV has been traversing, and if they don’t want their bottom line to dwindle, they’d better do it soon.
The throughline of the conversations this time around is that minorities don’t have to give our money to the film industry if we don’t want to; we can take our talents and dollars and reinvest in us, just as Pinkett Smith said in her video. That idea was the throughline of Ryan Coogler and #BLACKOUT’s #MLKNOW event. A tool of revolution is an economic boycott, and if push comes to shove, things just might come to that if Hollywood’s not careful.