The 2016 Oscars were one of the most-anticipated shows for a wide array of reasons, but let’s be honest: Most of them started and ended with the host in Chris Rock. He was the right person to host a show that had a lot of controversy, especially since he was more than capable of poking fun at all of it.
Before we get around to Rock, though, let’s spend a minute or so on the rest of the opening, since it was more or less a highlight reel of all of the movies of the past year. It was heartfelt, intense, diverse, and at times funny. We’re a TV site first and foremost, so we haven’t seen that many films over the past year … but even still, we know this was a good microcosm of everything.
Now, we turn to Rock … who of course addressed the controversy right away. The entire monologue was themed around the issue of diversity, and there were definitely moments in which he took the Academy to task for some of their choices. However, at the same time he also went after some people who told him to boycott the Oscars, joking that most of the people telling him what to do were unemployed. He was poignant, while at the same time hilarious with some of his jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith, Ray Charles, and others.
In the end, this may be one of our favorite Oscar openings of all time. This was such a difficult balance for Rock to find, but he managed to offer both criticism and hope, humor and power.