The dust has begun to settle on this year’s Oscars ceremony, which saw a historic win for Alejandro González Iñárritu, who became the first director in 65 years to pick up the Best Directing award two years in a row, and a surprising Best Picture win for Spotlight. And Leonardo DiCaprio, having finally won for Best Actor, is now presumably prepared to diminish, go into the West, and remain the raw bison liver-eater.
Chris Rock did an admirable job as host, delving right into the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in his monologue, referring to the Oscars as the “White People’s Choice Awards.” He lit into both sides of the debate, deriding the narrow-minded Academy voters as well as the actors who had called for a boycott of the proceedings. And while the Academy has responded with a plan for “substantive changes” to the racial and gender makeup of its membership, Rock decided to take things one step further.
Rock, who took swipes at Hollywood for the lack of representation of black actors throughout the night, introduced erstwhile Clueless actress and modern-day conservative Stacey Dash as the “Director of our new minority outreach program.” Dash briefly stepped on stage to say “I cannot wait to help my people out. Happy Black History Month!” That was… the whole joke and an attempt to send up Dash’s response to the #OscarsSoWhite-inspired boycott, in which she seemed to confuse black people’s desire for inclusion with segregation. The joke fell flat, though, and Dash ran out of the lion’s den as quickly as possible.
Dash later published a blog post explaining that she participated in the bit to push for representation of conservatives in Hollywood, whom we all know are all too frequently shut out of awards (or, in Robert Duvall’s case, only nominated for an Oscar), and/or uninvited to the best after-parties.