Ten days ago, Russell Simmons decided to throw his own award ceremony. Called the All Def Movie Awards — borrowing its name from the mogul’s All Def Digital platform — the event was to “celebrate the uncelebrated” against a backdrop of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. The last-minute journey ended Wednesday night when the awards were hosted by comedian Tony Rock at Hollywood’s Lure Nightclub.
“This is not a shot at the Oscars,” Rock started the show saying. “This is just our awards show done our way. Everything’s better when we add our flavor on it.”
A number of notable names were in attendance, including Ice Cube and son O’Shea Jackson Jr. of “Straight Outta Compton,” model Amber Rose and actors Marlon Wayans, Michael Ealy and Terry Crews.
The event was far from what one can expect at the Academy Awards, for good reason. Most of the categories for the show were in jest — best helpful white person, best black survivor, etc. But that’s exactly how Simmons envisioned it.
“It’s not a protest,” he said from the stage. “It’s a celebration, a celebration of people who otherwise would not be celebrated.”
But it was also a comment on #OscarsSoWhite and the broader lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Actress Sanaa Lathan of last year’s “The Perfect Guy” accepted the best actress award from Regina Hall, and said: “I’m excited by all of the conversation about diversity... because it is so important for young boys and girls of color to see themselves on screen. I’m so happy that Hollywood, maybe, is about to wake the [expletive] up.”
Most of the award winners — like Denzel Washington for best bad muh ... — did not attend. Some opted to send video messages in their place.
The night’s major honors went to Will Smith, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He did not attend because he was on set filming a new movie — or maybe, as he joked in his video acceptance, because Russell wasn’t honoring enough white people. TV legend Norman Lear received the Vanguard Award. He send a video message as well saying he was at a climate change event.
The event entertained the packed nightclub. A number of bits poked fun at the diversity conversation in Hollywood. D. L. Hughley and Mike Epps did a bit on actors who should have won an Oscar for a particular role, but didn’t, like Washington, who won for “Training Day” but not for “Malcolm X.” Angela Bassett, they said, deserved an Oscar for her turn as Tina Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and Leonardo DiCaprio — who may finally win his first Oscar this year — should’ve won for “Wolf of Wall Street.”
Oh, and “The Color Purple” was nominated for 11 Oscars and took home none, they pointed out.
Rock, whose brother Chris is hosting the Academy Awards Sunday, presented a number of Reparation awards. Two of them went to Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for being just black enough to still be castable.
See the other award categories and winners below:
Sanaa Lathan — “The Perfect Guy”
Michael B. Jordan — “Creed”
Ryan Coogler — “Creed”
Best helpful white person
Christoph Waltz, accepted by Robin Thicke “on behalf of all white people”
Best bad muh ...
Denzel Washington — “Training Day”
Most likely to steal your girl
Amber Rose, presented by Quincy Combs and Karrueche Tran
“Friday,” accepted by Ice Cube
Best black survivor in a movie
Ice Cube as Danny Rich in “Anaconda,” presented by Gary Owen
Lifetime achievement award
Will Smith, presented by Tyrese Gibson
Norman Lear, presented by Jerrod Carmichael of “The Carmichael Show”
“Straight Outta Compton,” accepted by Ice Cube and O’Shea Jackson Jr.
The All Def Movie Awards airs Sunday — opposite the Oscars — on Fusion. It will begin at 7 p.m. EST and re-air throughout the night.
Get your life! Follow me on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.