Oscar Show 2016: Chris Rock Politically Charged Opening Monologue

Comedian Chris Rock opened the 88th Academy Awards, one of the most politically-charged ceremonies (if not the most) of all time.

“Well, I’m here at the Academy Awards, also known as the White People’s Choice Awards,” he said.

Rock then slammed Jada Pinkett Smith’s decision to boycott the Oscars.  “Jada boycotting the #Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,” he said.

Rock also revealed that he was pressured to quit the show by those around him and “thought about quitting” before ultimately deciding that he would be able to wield greater influence as host.

“It’s not about boycotting anything. We just want opportunities. Black actors want the same opportunities,” he added.

He also wondered aloud why the industry decided to boycott this year’s Academy Awards when African-Americans have been under-represented “at least 71 other times.” However, they had real things to protest in the 1950s and 60s.

“We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer,” he said.

His message then turned political, focusing on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“This year, the In Memoriam package is just going to be black people who were shot by cops on their way to the movies.

The comic addressed the #OscarSoWhite controversy head on, taking dig after dig at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Hollywood’s diversity crisis in his monologue.

The Academy nominated only white men and women for the second year in a row in the 20 acting categories, leading several A-listers, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, to sit out the ceremony in protest.

Rock wasted no time in cracking a joke about the issue, tweeting “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards” on Jan. 15 — the day after nominations were announced.