Rock brings new edge to Oscars

2005-02-28 13:11
<b>Oscar Host Chris Rock performs his monologue to open the 77th Academy Awards telecast in Los Angeles. (Mark J Terrill, AP)</b>

Oscar Host Chris Rock performs his monologue to open the 77th Academy Awards telecast in Los Angeles. (Mark J Terrill, AP)

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Los Angeles - Apropos for an Oscar ceremony in which the boxing movie Million Dollar Baby was the big winner, host Chris Rock came out swinging, unleashing his acerbic wit on anyone and everyone in Hollywood - including himself.

Rock kept it clean on Sunday night compared to the profanity that fills his stand-up comedy routine. But he slung the mud in a way that kept the audience laughing.

"All right! Sit your a---- down!" he shouted after walking on stage in a white tie and tux and receiving a standing ovation from many in the star-studded crowd.

Then he let 'em have it.

His main point: Filmmakers should wait for better talent instead of rushing bad movies into theatres.

"Clint Eastwood's a star, OK? Tobey Maguire's just a boy in tights," Rock joked.

'All you get is Jude'

"You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law? Wait. You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell? Wait. 'Alexander' is not 'Gladiator."'

But Rock wasn't afraid to include himself in that assessment.

"You want Denzel (Washington) and all you can get is me? Wait," he joked. "Denzel's a fine actor. He woulda never made 'Pootie Tang."'

One actor snapped back, though.

Sean Penn, taking the stage to present the best-actress Oscar, took time to defend Law as "one of our finest actors".

Then he introduced the category by saying, "What Jude and all other talented actors know is that for every great, talented actor, there are five actresses who are nothing short of magic."

Backstage, Rock shrugged off the remarks and said he and Penn had talked.

"He said 'cause he's working with Jude on a movie right now he felt the need to ... I don't know," Rock said. "It's kinda funny."

Raunchy moments

One of the raunchier moments - though an intentionally goofy one - came with help from Adam Sandler, who like Rock is a fellow alum of the TV comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Sandler took the stage to present the adapted-screenplay Oscar, and it was announced that Catherine Zeta-Jones would be joining him. But Zeta-Jones never came out.

So Rock strode calmly from the wings and offered to read Zeta-Jones' teleprompter lines - which he did in a playfully stiff manner, making fun of the often awkward exchanges that take place between presenters at awards shows.

The dialogue went like this:

Sandler: "Catherine, may I just say your dress looks incredibly sexy tonight."

Rock: "Why thank you, Adam. It's Versace."

Sandler: "Well, with you in it, it should be Ver-sexy."

When Rock said teasingly that Sandler needed a spanking for being so naughty, Sandler responded, "Sign me up, Mrs. Douglas."

About concern that he might say something bleep-worthy, Rock said backstage after the ceremony, "It seems made up, put it that way."

"I don't curse in front of my mother. My mother was front, centre, right in my view," he added. "I could never curse in front of Rose Rock so why would I do it on television?"

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