(CNN)Everyone knew it was coming. And sure enough, Academy Awards host Chris Rock didn’t waste any time.
“This is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host because there are no black nominees,” he said at the start of his opening monologue Sunday night, in reference to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. “People were like, ‘Chris, you should boycott. Chris, you should quit.’
“I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard. But they’re not going to cancel the Oscars because I quit. And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart.”
Then Rock got a bit more serious.
“This is the 88th Academy Awards. So this whole ‘no black nominees’ thing has happened at least 71 other times.” Rock said black Americans didn’t made a fuss about it back then because they had more important things to worry about. “We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.”
Rock pushed things even further when he joked that the Oscars telecast will be a little different this year.
“In the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies,” he said, to gasps and groans from the audience.
Rock had been widely expected to address the much-maligned lack of ethnic and gender diversity in Hollywood after no minorities were nominated in any of the four acting categories for the second consecutive year. Critically acclaimed black Oscar hopefuls such as “Beasts of No Nation’s” Idris Elba, “Concussion” star Will Smith, “Creed” star Michael B. Jordan and the cast of N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” all were ignored.