When the 2016 Academy Award nominees were announced and another #OscarsSoWhite controversy ignited, many wondered whether Chris Rock would pull out of his hosting appointment in protest. This is the second year in a row that the Academy nominated no actors of color, causing some film professionals to call for a boycott of the event.
But W. Kamau Bell thinks that Chris Rock's set-up couldn't be more perfect. Bell is a political comedian who tackles issues of race and diversity head-on in his performances, and he does the same in his upcoming CNN docuseries "United Shades of America." His FX comedy series, "Totally Unbiased," was executive-produced by Rock.
As Bell told the Frame:
There's no other place [Chris] would rather be in the middle of this controversy than onstage hosting the Academy Awards. So I think he's probably sitting somewhere rubbing his hands together and evilly laughing about like, You have no idea what you've just done here. So I'm excited like everybody else. I'm getting my popcorn ready . . . [Chris Rock is] in the exact place he wants to be. If he could have written this, he would have written it this way.
In the wake of internet fury, the Academy revised several longstanding rules about membership in an effort to double the number of diverse members and women by the year 2020. Older members who are no longer active in filmmaking will lose voting rights within 10 years, and the Academy will launch a campaign to recruit diverse members. It's a sign of good faith — but if Kamau Bell is right, it won't save them from the royal roasting Chris Rock has in store for them.
The Oscars will air this Sunday, February 28 at 5:30pm PST.