The Oscars were once again without a host in 2020, but two former hosts stepped in to give the show a de facto opening monologue.
Steve Martin and Chris Rock touched on everything from the Iowa caucuses to the lack of Black nominees during the monologue, including a lengthy series of jokes about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The duo started by riffing on the fact that the Academy hadn’t hired a host for the second consecutive year.
“We both have hosted the Oscars before and this is such an incredible demotion,” Martin said. “They don’t really have hosts anymore, why is that?”
“Twitter!” Rock said, a not-so-veiled reference to Kevin Hart dropping out from hosting the 2019 Oscars due to comments he had made on Twitter. “Everyone’s got an embarrassing tweet somewhere. I know I do.”
Martin also tied the infamous “La La Land” and “Moonlight” mixup from the 2017 Oscars to the voting issues at last week’s Iowa caucuses.
“A couple of years ago there was a big disaster here at the Oscars where they accidentally read out the wrong name,” Martin said. “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.”
Bezos was the butt of the highest number of jokes from the duo.
“Jeff Bezos is here. He’s got cash. When he writes the check, the bank bounce[s],” 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.
“Steve do you have anything to add about Mr Bezos?” Rock continued.
“No, I like getting my packages on time,” Martin replied.
Both Rock and Martin made sure to address the lack of Black nominees at this year’s awards, with Rock beginning with a joke about last year’s Best Supporting Actor winner, Mahershala Ali.
“Mahershala Ali’s here tonight,” Rock said. “Mahershala has two Oscars. You know what that means when the cops pull him over? Nothing.”
Later, Rock riffed on actress Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated for her role as Harriet Tubman in “Harriet.”
“Cynthia Erivo is here tonight,” Rock said. “Cynthia Erivo did so great at hiding black people that the Academy got her to hide all the Black nominees!”
The duo finished with a joke about all the “progress” Hollywood has made in making the awards more diverse.
“Think how much the Oscars have changed in the past 92 years,” Martin said. “Back in 1929, there were no black acting nominees.
“And now in 2020, we’ve got one,” Rock said.
“Amazing growth!” Martin finished.