How deliciously ironic it is that, in a year where the Academy Awards faced more criticism than ever over the lack of racial diversity in the nominations, the one man making all the headlines the morning after is Chris Rock.
Having agreed to host the awards for the second time in his career, facing down those who called on him to join their boycott against the ceremony, Rock surpassed all expectations on the night with a monologue that cut right to the heart of the issues at hand.
In typically penetrating fashion, the 51-year-old comedian unleashed blow after blow of pointed critique aimed squarely at the crowd in front of him — each unsettling point strapped to a punchline so hilarious that few could resist its impact.
While there were many big winners on the night in question (not least, the man of a thousand memes himself), in our eyes a special award goes out to Chris for proving that it is possible to make a stand for your principles from the inside.
If you missed the show itself last night, here are 10 of Chris Rock’s best quotes, each worthy of a standing ovation.
- “Welcome to the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards! You realize, if they nominated hosts I wouldn’t even get this job. You’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
- “What happened this year? People went mad. Spike got mad. Jada went mad and Will went mad. Everyone went mad. Jada said she’s not coming, protesting…Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”
- “But why are we protesting this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no-black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times.”
- “People are like, ‘Chris, you should boycott. How come only unemployed people ask you to quit something?’ No one with a job tells you to quit.”
- “I’m sure there was no black nominees some of those years, say ’62, ’63, and black people didn’t 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 cinematographer! When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”
- “I get it, Jada’s mad her man Will wasn’t nominated for ‘Concussion.’ I get it. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild, Wild West.’”
- “If you want black nominees every year, you need to have black categories. You already do it with men and women. Think about it: there’s no real reason for there to be a men and women category in acting…It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. Robert De Niro’s never said, ‘I better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up!’”
- “Is Hollywood racist? You damn right Hollywood’s racist, but you’ve grown accustomed to it. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ That’s Hollywood.”
- “Not everything is sexism, not everything is racism. They ask the men [on the Red Carpet] more because the men are all wearing the same outfits. If George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on and a swan coming out his ass, someone would go, ‘What you wearing, George?.’”
- “What I’m trying to say is it’s not about boycotting everything, we want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it. Not just once.”
Take a bow, Chris.
- Main Image: Getty Images / Kevin Winter