Chris Rock makes his Oscar opener political, talks racism

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"Whether or not it was intentional, the show had a unifying theme, and every Chris Rock joke was a ideal riff on that theme".

"You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn't even get this job", Rock joked.

"I'm here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards", Rock said during his monologue. Why? because we had real things to protest at the time.

"This year thing's are going to be a little different...This year in the in memoriam package, it's just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies". "How 'bout that, America?" You're damn right Hollywood is racist. "Hollywood is sorority racist", he said, referring to how white industry power players politely exclude minorities from their projects.

He said of Pinkett Smith, "What happened this year?"

In late January, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced a series of changes to its voting and membership procedures with the aim of doubling its female and "diverse" membership by 2020.

Aside from pleading for more opportunity for black actors, Rock also sought to add perspective to the turmoil, which included a protest outside the Dolby on Sunday led by the Rev. Al Sharpton. "You would all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now".

Rock had stayed quiet before the ceremony as the diversity controversy raged over the second straight year of all-white acting nominees, leaving Hollywood and viewers eagerly waiting his one-liners. All these guys get great parts all the time. When Oscar's co-producer Reginald Hudlin said that Rock was rewriting his monologue in response to #Oscarssowhite, the comic's publicist immediately said he was doing nothing of the sort.

Though some critics wanted the comedian to boycott the ceremonies after all 10 acting nominations were given to white actors for the second year in a row, Rock instead took the opportunity to skewer Hollywood racism and highlight the need for change. We got a black Rocky this year. But what about the black actors.

The Awards began with a pre-taped montage showing highlights from the year's films, including clips from movies that were snubbed.

The group plans to "take a unified stand for diversity, inclusion and justice in Hollywood", and encourage people to "tune out the Oscars". And he kept bringing up the Oscars' diversity problem all night long.

All 20 actors nominated Sunday are white. Sharpton criticized the Oscars for failing to nominate films such as "Straight Outta Compton", "Creed" or "Concussion" for any of its top honors.

Sharpton's National Action Network will stage protests in cities across the country, including Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Washington, D.C.