Reporting for CBS This Morning on Monday, Entertainment Tonight host Kevin Frazier offered rave reviews of Sunday’s Oscars pushing one liberal agenda item after another: “You know, there was no way last night's broadcast could be just about the awards....the real spotlight was on Oscars lack of diversity and the show's host Chris Rock owned the night.”
After touting Rock’s racially charged monologue, Frazier proclaimed: “But the broadcast’s politically charged atmosphere included more than just the diversity issue. Leonardo DiCaprio took home the Oscar for best actor and took the opportunity to deliver a message about the environment, a passion of his for more than a decade.”
A soundbite ran of DiCaprio warning: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”
ABC’s Good Morning America similarly applauded DiCaprio’s “outstanding” climate change comments.
Continuing his report on CBS, Frazier declared: “The night's top honor went to a film with perhaps the strongest political message. Spotlight tells the true store of journalists at The Boston Globe, who investigated the Catholic Church’s cover up of molestation by the city’s priests.” A clip ran of the movie’s producer Michael Sugar telling the Hollywood audience: “This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican.”
Wrapping up the segment, Frazier gushed: “But once again, the real star of the show was Chris Rock. I felt that he hit it out of the ballpark.”
The morning show brought Frazier back on at the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour to once again cheer the awards show. He announced: “You know, after all the outrage over ‘Oscar so white,’ Chris Rock rolled in and delivered.”
Talking about DiCaprio, Frazier reiterated: “This committed environmentalist took advantage of the worldwide audience as he was named best actor for The Revenant.”
He observed: “While the Oscars struggled with diversity, many films that were honored highlighted issues of social relevance. Alicia Vikander’s win for best supporting actress in The Danish Girl took us back to the early days of gender reassignment.”
At the end of that report, co-host Norah O’Donnell teed him up: “Kevin, let me ask you though, while the nominations were not inclusive, what about the show?” Frazier enthused:
You know, I got to tell you, I thought that Chris Rock, and also producer Reginald Hudland, did a fantastic job from survivors of sexual violence to the LGBT community, and of course, racial diversity. The show covered a lot of ground and there really wasn't a wasted moment....Even the music that was played seemed to have a message....The message was delivered loud and clear. And if you missed it, Academy president Cheryl Boone-Isaac took stage and basically said, “Hey y’all get on the train, because change is coming.”
Later on the show, O’Donnell asked two New York Times journalists – reporter Melena Ryzik and critic-at-large Wesley Morris – what they thought of Rock’s performance. Ryzik replied: “I thought he did great. I mean, we don't want him to be comfortable. We want him to kind of push the boundary, we want him to make people feel perhaps a little bit awkward in the audience.” Morris added: “I mean, you don't hire him to just be nice to everybody.”
O’Donnell wondered if DiCaprio’s climate change activism was a “good thing.” Ryzik asserted: “Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think he’s been such an activist for environmental causes that would you be surprised if he didn't make that point.” Morris agreed: “Yeah. I mean, that is very – as I was saying last night – on brand for Leo...”
Fellow co-host Charlie Rose chimed in: “He did he it smartly, too.”
Ryzik noted: “Well, it was a night when a lot of people called out causes that were bigger than the show themselves, which I thought was interesting. It was a moment where people taking the time to use this platform to say, ‘This is not just about me winning an award.’”
Moments later, during a discussion about Spotlight winning best picture, Morris argued that the film was “the least divisive. It’s the least divisive of those top – it’s less divisive between The Revenant and that.”
O’Donnell said of the movie: “It’s great to see investigative journalism.” Ryzik suggested: “I think every journalist at home was cheering.”
Here is a full transcript of Frazier’s first report at the top of the broadcast:
7:03 AM ET
CHARLIE ROSE: The Academy Awards ceremony turns months of racial controversy into pointed and entertaining social commentary. Alicia Vikander, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, and Mark Rylance this morning are all celebrating their first acting Oscars.
NORAH O’DONNELL: But it was host Chris Rock who stole the show. The comedian took on Hollywood’s lack of racial diversity head on from the show’s opening moments until its closing credits. Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier is at the ET studio in Los Angeles. Kevin, good morning.
KEVIN FRAZIER: Good morning. You know, there was no way last night's broadcast could be just about the awards. Leonardo Dicaprio and Brie Larson took the top acting honors and Spotlight was the surprise winner for best picture, but the real spotlight was on Oscars lack of diversity and the show's host Chris Rock owned the night.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Oscars on Edge; Spotlight & DiCaprio Win as Rock Blasts Hollywood]
CHRIS ROCK: Well, I'm here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards.
FRAZIER: Oscar host Chris Rock wasted no time Sunday night. Jabs at the Academy’s lack of racial diversity were expected from the moment the nominations were announced, when it was revealed that all 20 nominated actors were white.
ROCK: Do you realize, if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job.
FRAZIER: Rock kept the jokes coming, even out of a commercial break.
ROCK: We’re black.
FRAZIER: But the broadcast’s politically charged atmosphere included more than just the diversity issue. Leonardo DiCaprio took home the Oscar for best actor and took the opportunity to deliver a message about the environment, a passion of his for more than a decade.
LEONARDO DICAPRIO: Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.
JOE BIDEN: I'm the least qualified man here tonight. Thank you.
FRAZIER: Vice President Joe Biden walked on stage to a standing ovation and talked of speaking out against sexual abuse.
BIDEN: Let’s change the culture.
FRAZIER: It was part of his introduction to Lady Gaga's song, Until it Happens to You.
LADY GAGA [SINGING]: Until it happens to you, you won’t know how I feel.
FRAZIER: As the song ended, victims of abuse filled the stage. The emotional response from the audience was clear. Brie Larson, who won best actress playing a sexual abuse victim in Room, hugged each person as they came off stage.
MORGAN FREEMAN: And the Oscar goes to, Spotlight.
FRAZIER: The night's top honor went to a film with perhaps the strongest political message. Spotlight tells the true store of journalists at The Boston Globe, who investigated the Catholic Church’s cover up of molestation by the city’s priests.
MICHAEL SUGAR: This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican.
FRAZIER: The Revenant’s Alejandro Iñárritu won best director, it’s the first time a director has won back-to-back Oscars in 66 years. The night's biggest upset, Mark Rylance of Bridget of Spies, not Sylvester Stallone, won best supporting actor. The best supporting actress was Alicia Vikander. The night’s most honored film, Mad Max: Fury Road, with six Oscars. But once again, the real star of the show was Chris Rock. I felt that he hit it out of the ballpark. Back to you, Jeff.
JEFF GLOR: Kevin Frazier, thank you very much. We’re gonna have much more on the Oscars throughout this morning.