The Oscars went hostless this year, but former hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock warmed up the audience with a hilarious opening, lampooning this year’s lack of diverse nominees, the Iowa caucus debacle, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“We have both hosted the Oscars before and this is such an incredible demotion,” Martin opened.
“They decided to go hostless this year,” Rock replied.
“Why is that,” Martin asked.
“Twitter!” Rock declared, a veiled reference to Kevin Hart dropping out last year due to his previous homophobic social media posts.
Another joke referenced the “La La Land”/”Moonlight” mix-up from 2017 and this week’s debacle at the Iowa Caucus, where no winner was officially named.
“A couple of years ago there was a big disaster here at the Oscars where they accidentally read out the wrong name. It was nobody’s fault, but they have guaranteed that this will not happen this year. Because the Academy has switched to the new Iowa Caucus app!” Martin declared.
Rock addressed the noticeable lack of color among acting nominees.
“Mahershala has two Oscars,” Rock said, calling out Mahershala Ali. “You know what that means when the cops pull him over? Nothing.”
Later, he joked, “Cynthia Erivo did so great at hiding black people that the Academy got her to hide all the Black nominees!” Erivo is the only nominee of color this year.
Jeff Bezos was also a target.
“Jeff Bezos’ got cash. When he writes the check, the bank bounces,” Rock said.
“Jeff Bezos is so rich, he got divorced and he’s STILL the richest man in the world. He saw Marriage Story and thought it was a comedy,” he added.
Asked if he would rail Bezos, Martin replied, “No, I like getting my packages on time.”
Aside from the Iowa Caucus joke, the opening remained largely apolitical, with no references to President Donald Trump.