Chris Rock did not disappoint his fans as he hosted the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday. The awards show has been under a lot of criticism recently for lack of diversity because the Oscar acting nominees, for the second consecutive year, were all white. Some in the industry had even called for a boycott of the Academy Awards, including actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee.
Rock joked about why he decided not to boycott the show, saying that the show wouldn’t be canceled because of him and he wasn’t going to “lose another job to Kevin Hart.” He also dedicated much of his opening monologue to the subject of diversity, or the lack of, in Hollywood. In his opening, he described the Academy Awards as the “White People’s Choice Awards.” He also stated, “If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get the job.”
The diversity theme carried on throughout the show, with several actors taking part in skits lampooning lack of diversity in some recent films. One skit had Whoopi Goldberg wielding a mop next to Jennifer Lawrence in a scene supposedly from “Joy.” Another skit had Jeff Daniels deciding not to spend $2,500 to save a stranded black astronaut, played by Mr. Rock, on Mars, in a spoof on “The Martian.”
Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar for his role in “The Revenant,” taking home the best actor prize. The win was widely expected. DiCaprio has been nominated in the acting categories four times before, including for “The Aviator” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “The Revenant” also earned the best director award for Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
“Spotlight,” a newspaper drama about the Roman Catholic Church cover-up of sexual abuse by priests, won the top prize for best film this year. The distributor Open Road Films, a small distributor formed by two theater companies, AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, was up against 20th Century Fox, which backed “The Revenant,” “The Martian,” and “Brooklyn” for the best picture category.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” led all films with six awards, including for costume design, production design, editing, sound editing, sound mixing and makeup and hairstyling. Brie Larson was named best actress for “Room”; Alicia Vikander was named best supporting actress for “The Danish Girl”; and Mark Rylance was best supporting actor for “Bridge of Spies.” The original song award went to “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.” Sam Smith, one of the composers, dedicated his Oscar to the L.G.B.T. communities around the world.