The first 10 minutes of the Oscars addressed the awards show’s biggest issues head-on.
Janelle Monáe opened the 92nd annual Academy Awards with a rousing performance that called out the lack of diversity during Hollywood’s biggest night.
Monáe kicked off the show with a rendition of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” before launching into a high-energy song that celebrated the talent that received little to no recognition from the Academy this year.
Monáe shouted out movies like “Queen & Slim,” “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Us,” while dancers dressed in costumes from those films pranced around the stage.
“It’s time to shine, it’s time to come alive, because the Oscars is so white, it’s time to come alive, now let’s go wild,” Monáe sang, referencing the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign that addressed the lack of people of color at the annual show.
“Pose” star Billy Porter also joined Monáe onstage to sing a few bars of the song.
“We celebrate the women who directed phenomenal films, and I’m so proud to stand here as a Black, queer artist telling stories,” Monáe said as she ended her performance. “Happy Black History Month!”
Diversity at the Academy Awards:The Oscars were never meant to be diverse, and we can stop pretending as if they were
Oscars 2020:The winners list
Following Monáe’s opener, comedians and former Oscars hosts Chris Rock and Steve Martin made their way to the stage.
After joking that having both “hosted the Oscars before” and calling their presenting gig “such an incredible demotion,” the comedic duo went into skewering the award show.”
Rock brought attention to the contradiction of homelessness in Los Angeles nearby the star-studded event at Dolby Theater.
“I’m a little conflicted, I was driving here tonight and seeing the terrible homeless problem in L.A.–” Rock said before Martin jokingly cut him off saying “Thank you, Chris! So many stars.”
Rock also mentioned Oscar winner Mahershala Ali.
“Mahershala has two Oscars! You know what that means when the cops pull him over? Nothing!” Rock quipped.
Martin and Rock also made mention of the lack of women nominated in the best director category.
After correcting Martin’s pronunciation of Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo’s last name, Rock joked: “Cynthia did such a great job in ‘Harriet’ hiding black people, that the Academy got her to hide all the black nominees. Is Eddie Murphy under this stage?”
“Think of how much the Oscars have changed in the past 92 years,” Martin said. “In 1929, there were no black acting nominees.”
“And now in 2020 we have one,” Rock said.