Our View: Humor and feeling in the Academy Awards

As the highly-anticipated 88th Academy Awards rolled around Sunday night, viewers looked forward to specific events, all unique to what they expected and didn’t expect from the ceremony.

First, what was expected was some sort of joke cracked about the lack of diversity in nominations. What people may not have expected was the clever commentary and heartfelt message delivered by actor and host Chris Rock.

We want opportunity,” Rock said during the opening address. “We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it.”

The speech was also followed by clever renditions of nominated films with the inclusion of notable African American actors like Tracy Morgan and Whoopi Goldberg.

The ceremony has been under criticism since the release of nominees in January, showing a lack – and even absence – of diversity among those nominated. The news resulted in celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting the awards.

Rock addressed the well-known criticism with humor and heart as he spoke to the audience.

“Is Hollywood racist? You damn right Hollywood’s racist,” Rock said. “Hollywood is sorority racist: We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

Even Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs mentioned the importance of diversity to the Academy Awards during the ceremony.

“I am here to say that we are going to continue to take action and not just speak,” Isaacs said.

While the issue of there being next to no diversity among the nominees has been duly noted, the participants made sure the issue wasn’t ignored through a mix of humor, solemness and heart.