Ricky Gervais says political 'lectures' in awards speeches have 'the opposite effect'

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Count Ricky Gervais among those who thought Sunday’s Oscars were too political.

The comedian, who hosted the Golden Globe Awards for a record fifth time last month, on Monday shared his opinion that, while he has, “nothing against the most famous people in the world using their privileged, global platform to tell the world what they believe,” he’s warned them that their messages will backfire.

And, as there often is at these things, there were several moments that referenced the current political climate.

Some of them were meant to be funny, like when presenter Steve Martin joked that the announcement of Best Picture would not be bungled, as it was in 2017: “They have guaranteed this will not happen this year because the Academy has switched to the new Iowa caucus app.”

Read more: Olivia Colman’s delightfully rude Oscars speech

When Josh Gad introduced Idina Menzel, who performed one of the night’s Oscar-nominated songs, ‘Into the Unknown’, from Frozen 2, he teased that climate change deniers call the movie, “Not Frozen 2.”

Brad Pitt accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

There were some serious moments, though, which is most likely what Gervais was talking about. Brad Pitt called out President Trump’s impeachment trial, as he accepted the Best Supporting Actor trophy. “They told me I have 45 seconds this year, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star said.

Joaquin Phoenix, who won Best Actor for his performance in Joker, used his speech to mention inequality when it comes to race and gender, as well as animal rights. There were others.

Before the show had even started, Gervais tossed a couple of jokes that he would have used at the mic for the swankiest ceremony of awards season.

Zingers about class differences would have fit right in at the 2020 Oscars, where a movie all about them, Parasite, took him top honours.