After skewering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ diversity problem in his opening monologue on Sunday, February 28, Oscar host Chris Rock tackled the controversy again in a pretaped “man on the street” bit outside a movie theater in Compton, California.
In the sketch, Rock, 51, interviewed moviegoers about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, asking what it meant to them that all of the 2016 acting nominees were white. He then asked whether they’d seen any of this year’s Best Picture nominees.
“Did you see any of the Oscar-nominated movies? Did you see Spotlight?” he asked one man, who answered frankly, “No. What the hell is that? No, I didn’t see that movie.”
He went on to mention Trumbo, Brooklyn, The Big Short and Bridge of Spies, each of which was met with a blank stare.
“Where are you getting these movies from?” one woman asked, laughing. “You’re making up some! You’re messing with me, right? I watch movies. I come to the movies all the time.”
Rock insisted the films he had named were real Oscar-nominated pictures, to which the woman replied, “Like, in London?”
Asked about Straight Outta Compton, however, the subjects were enthusiastic and excited. (Many people feel Straight Outta Compton was snubbed for a Best Picture nomination.)
Later in the sketch, Rock gave the interviewees an Oscar statuette and told them to give their acceptance speech to the world.
“This should be not just white, it should be Asian, Hispanic — there’s so much talent out there of all races,” one man shared.
The bit got mixed reviews on Twitter, with some people praising it as hilarious and others saying it reinforced stereotypes. More than a few people also pointed out that Rock wasn’t actually in Compton.
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