Oscars: Will Diversity Controversy Take Over the Show?

Chris Rock Hosting Oscars 2016
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night with 57 films in contention for an Oscar, following one of the most controversial awards seasons in memory.

The show begins at 5:30 p.m. PST at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with Oscars presented in 24 categories. ABC will televise the ceremonies in the U.S.

But along with the question of whether “The Revenant,” “The Big Short” or “Spotlight” will take the best picture award, the overriding theme for this Oscars will be over the awkwardness of the Academy’s failure to recognize non-white actors for the second year in a row in its Jan. 14 nominations announcement. On Saturday, “Beasts of No Nation” actors Abraham Attah and Idris Elba took the acting trophies at the Independent Spirit Awards in a clear rebuke to the Academy.


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It’s the second Oscars hosting gig for Rock, who previously hosted in 2005, and was faced with pressure to step down. He’s certain to address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy throughout the show.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Spike Lee, best original song nominee Antony Hegarty, “Creed” director Ryan Coogler and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay have all have promised to be no-shows. Coogler and DuVernay are headlining a #JusticeForFlint event in Michigan to bring attention to the economic and racial issues that led to that city’s water contamination crisis.

For its part, the Academy has responded with a plan to increase the number of women and minorities in membership by 2020 — partly by changing the lifetime voting rights rules to a requirement of three ten-year terms of active status unless a person has won or been nominated for an Oscar.

As for the trophies, “The Revenant” has the most chances, having received the most nominations with 12, followed by “Mad Max: Fury Road” with ten. The awards season that followed saw “The Revenant” win the top award for Alejandro G. Inarritu at the Directors Guild of America, while “The Big Short” won at the Producers Guild of America and “Spotlight” won at the SAG Awards and the Spirits.

As usual, the Southern California weather is cooperating with the threat of El Nino storms remaining largely a no-show. Already-tight security around the Dolby will be even more intense than usual.

Sunday’s Academy Awards will be produced by David Hill and Reginald Hudlin and directed by Glenn Weiss. The event will be protected by a massive security presence that includes federal, state and local law enforcement, including 500 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Attendees will be required to pass through three security perimeters before they can reach the red carpet outside the Dolby. Formal red carpet arrivals begin at 4 p.m. PST.

The Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, Calif., which killed 14 people, remains front and center for law enforcement as a reminder of the possibility of terrorist violence in Southern California. Variety reported Friday that local police have put extra patrols since then to try to keep an eye on public places with little or no security.

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  1. Andrew says:

    I love when the politically correct have to eat their own BS. Do you think any of those hypocritical morons who get awards for playing dress up and make believe will refuse their Oscars in protest of “racist” Hollywood? I bet they just say a few incoherent words of what a travesty it is as they clutch and take home their little prize for being the smartest one in the dumb row?

  2. Nanny Mo says:

    Yes! And if in time the Academy doesn’t drop it and get back to being an award based solely on talent with one vote per member, color-blind, the awards will end up being meaningless for even the minorities who win one by quota (even the talented ones.) The world will look toward less racist award ceremonies like Cannes and Berlin for being the true awards, and once again America will have violated the very things that make her great. Real awards, worth winning, are not about fairness, they are about exceptionalism alone.

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  4. Kevin Thomas says:

    I wonder if Chris will touch on the 20 million blacks currently enslaved in Muslim nations..Black lives matter..

  5. Kevin Thomas says:

    Not falling for this white guilt propaganda, not watching this year,

    Just going to check google after to see if Leo gets his long overdue award. But I guess I’m saying Leo’s talented only because he’s white and I think Will Smith isn’t talented because I’m white and he’s black.. Because race precludes talent, right?

  6. Jacques Strappe says:

    The question is whether Chris Rock will make a joke about the Oscars being ABC’s attempt at a Black-ish awards show.

  7. Jacques Strappe says:

    Funny thing about “political correctness” is it’s critics dismiss it as nonsense or liberal overreach only when it doesn’t negatively impact their own race, sexuality or religion. Imagine the white outrage if only actors and directors of color happened to be nominated one year In it’s attempt to level the playing field, political correctness might not right every perceived wrong or eliminate every real or imagined injustice and prejudice, but it succeeds when it starts a loud, messy and contentious dialogue between those who embrace it and those who dismiss it.

    • Clover says:

      I don’t ever post comments on this nonsense but you made it to hard not to with this nonsense your spewing is probably the dumbest thing I have ever read!! ” imagine the white outrage if only actors of color happened to be nominated one year”? Imagine the outrage if one year the source awards, image awards, or even the bet awards nominated a white person in each category?? Hell imagine if the had a white person host one of those three shows?!! I’m willing to bet jada, will, and spike would be going nuts and protesting this too! The problem is the people who start this controversy in the first place! I won’t be watching the oscars either not to support the #whiteoscar crap but because I’m sick to my stomach over this nonsense! We’re in the middle of black history month right now! African Americans are up in arms over equality but your not up in arms over any other color not being nominated just the African American community. You want an award just because the color of your skin? That seems like your the ones causing the race issues here not anyone else. If you looked at it like white black yellow purple whatever color is equal you wouldn’t be noticing that there was no African Americans nominated this year(which there have been plenty over the years and won) This wasn’t a year with any stand out performances from any African American actors with the exception of Idris. But look how many movies Leo got snubbed on over the years in which he definitely should have got at least a nom! He wasn’t up in arms screaming cause an African American was nominated when he should have been he sat in his seat went to the awards and cheered on whoever won regardless of race and color! Maybe if everyone is screaming make us equals those are the people who should start thinking of everyone as equals and we can concentrate on more important issues then a bunch of cry baby’s who didn’t get what they wanted and want to throw a temper tantrum! Regardless if I’m watching or not I hope Leo get what’s due to him because over the years he’s been left out of the mix to many times

    • Nanny Mo says:

      I think that’s called the Image Awards, cha ching! And boy are you wrong.

  8. Maddie says:

    the most ridiculous protest ever. With all that is going on in the world, this is what people decide to protest about? PC stupidity. Get over yourselves

  9. sjws says:

    the SJW philosophy will make real outrage meaningless

  10. Truth Out says:

    This is all out of control PC nonsense. When will there be a diversity movement in the NBA or NFL? America was founded on having the best rise. Now, it’s all PC/affirmative action nonsense and America’s decline is accelerating because of it.

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