When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
This sketch, which takes place at the fictional “Screen Guild Awards,” finds Cecily Strong‘s presenter announcing the nominations for Best Actor. The nominees include the white trainer to a black boxer in a Creed parody (with Taran Killam doing a pretty decent Sylvester Stallone), the sole white guy in a Straight Outta Compton parody, a tiny side character in a Thurgood Marshall biopic and so on. The whole thing gets increasingly ridiculous as the “scenes” from each movie go out of their way to showcase SNL’s black cast playing pretty solid riffs on dramatic roles, only for the nominated white person to pop into the scene for a single line.
It’s not SNL at its most vicious, but the point is made and it is made well. Plus, the final line (courtesy of a television voice over) really helps stick the landing: “Next is best male director…I mean best director.”