Watch: Regina King referenced the murder of George Floyd in Oscars opening
Viewers of this year's unconventional Oscars ceremony were split right down the middle by the lack of an opening comedy monologue at the event.
Rather than the traditional idea of using a host or comedian to deliver a series of gags about the nominees, this year's ceremony began with a cinematic long take introduction for presenter Regina King.
The shot marked a clear hallmark of filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, who produced the show.
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King then delivered only a few words of opening, making reference to the recent trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
The 2019 Oscar winner said: "If things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded my heels for marching boots.
"I know that a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you, but as a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with. And no amount of fame or fortune changes that."
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King then launched straight into the nominees for the Best Original Screenplay award, delivering brief introductions for each of the nominated writers.
Some on social media were pleased at the non-traditional opening to the show, but others mourned the "earnestness" of opening the evening without several minute of biting jokes.
No clips, awkward speeches, butt-clenching earnestness. Where’s the gags?
— Ross Maclean (@ross_maclean) April 26, 2021
The fact we're not dealing with some cheesy, terribly written monologue by (insert late night talk show host here) is SO refreshing. #Oscars
— CC (@Colt_Cammie) April 26, 2021
Regina King is many, many wonderful things but one of the things I most love about her is that she is very earnest. #Oscars
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 26, 2021
What happened to the opening monologue? Did they leave that part out because we can’t make fun of people in 2021? #Oscars
— Alexis (@SEXYSIXELA) April 26, 2021
I kept waiting for an opening monologue and then Emerald Fennell won an Oscar. #Oscars
— Ani’s Version (@anibundel) April 26, 2021
While the Oscars has been without a traditional host for several years, there has been some form of a monologue.
Last year, Chris Rock and Steve Martin stepped up to the microphone to roast the nominees and, in 2019, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey delivered gags early in the show.
Read more: Try our tricky Best Picture quiz
The 2021 Oscars is airing live from multiple locations in Los Angeles, as well as venues across the world — including London.
Watch: Oscars 2021 highlights