I was one of the tens of millions of people tuned into the Oscars on Sunday night. But unlike most TV viewers I was actually working for the duration of the program. I hosted a live radio broadcast featuring ET Canada host Cheryl Hickey immediately following the Academy Awards.
Unlike the fashion most years, a lot of people were watching to see and hear about that #OscarsSoWhite controversy. You’ll recall there was outrage that very few black nominees were announced this year. And with Chris Rock – a black comedian – hosting, it was anybody’s guess what would happen.
So throughout his high-pitched and at times quite squeaky monologue (his voice tends to make me cringe – I can only imagine how my dogs felt) Rock made light of the so-called racism for almost 10 minutes. Thinking that he got it out of his system at the start of the show, I was surprised that he continued on throughout the three-plus hours of the Oscars.
There were some funny moments but others fell flat and I wondered how much of the audience – both at home and in the Hollywood theatre – believed the gag was getting old.
When I had previewed the Oscars last week with E! News film expert Marc Malkin, he was concerned that if Rock didn’t address the controversy that it would be even more scandalous. While addressing it too much would also make people mad.
Based on the reviews, and even my chat with Hickey, it seemed most people thought Rock’s persistent ribbing of the “white People’s Choice Awards”, as he called it, was tolerable.
There was also a parade of black actors who took part in presentations which I thought could easily have been considered minorities handing trophies to the white winners because that seemed to be the tone of the night. (I’m concerned that if I were to put it more casually or flippantly I’d be considered racist, so I am tiptoeing lightly. If I was a black comedian I might be able to get away with such remarks.)
Nevertheless, I am still of the mindset that we should put the colour issue aside. Nominate people for their skills, abilities and talents. Then again, I am just a prairie kid who does what he does for the enjoyment and not massive paycheques or fame.