Comedian Chris Rock was all set with his opening monologue for the Academy Awards telecast a week ago, but he has now thrown out the whole thing and is in the process of rewriting his speech after the controversy about the lack of diversity in this year’s nominees, "Entertainment Tonight" reported.
When the Oscar nominations for 2016 were announced this month, no people of color were nominated in any acting category, and no films featuring black actors were nominated for best picture. In addition, people of color who fans and critics had expected to get attention were passed over in a number of other categories. Outrage quickly swept across the internet with the hashtag #OscarSoWhite trending on Twitter and many celebrities weighing in to express frustration and anger.
Not only were people upset about the lack of diversity in this year’s nominees, but it also marked the second year in a row that the Oscars seemed to recognize mostly white actors and filmmakers. Many celebrities including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee have now said they will boycott this year’s show in protest.
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) January 15, 2016
Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin said Rock wanted a chance to make his opening monologue relevant to the situation surrounding this year’s show.
"Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room," Hudlin told "ET." “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I'm throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’ ”
“Chris is that thorough,” the producer added. “He's that brilliant, and I have 1,000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”
The Academy Awards will take place Feb. 28, and Rock has already addressed the controversy with a video on Twitter, in which he called the Oscars “the White BET Awards.”
“You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin told "ET." “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They're excited about him doing that. They know that's what we need. They know that's what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”
For their part, the Academy announced a change to its membership rules last week after many stars had called for the organization to overhaul its process. The new membership rules aim to double the amount of women and nonwhite members by 2020, the Academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said Friday.