A benefit for residents affected by the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint features some big names but is a grass-roots effort at its core, Creed director Ryan Coogler said Sunday.

Coogler, actor Jesse Williams and about a dozen others opened the #JusticeForFlint event on Oscar night by talking about the water crisis and thanking the crowd.

Flint Water Oscar Night Benefit

Comedian Hannibal Buress, hostof the #JusticeForFlint event in Flint, Mich., was among the big names who assembled for the evening. (Conor Ralph/The Flint Journal-MLive.com/Associated Press)

Those participating in the Flint benefit, which included performances by Janelle Monae and Stevie Wonder, are helping raise money and awareness about the water problem, Coogler said.

None of the opening speakers mentioned the Academy Awards or the uproar over the lack of diversity of this year's nominees.

Flint Water Oscar Night Benefit

Stevie Wonder was a surprise performer. (Conor Ralph/The Flint Journal-MLive.com/Associated Press)

Coogler's Creed had been the favourite to win the best supporting actor Oscar for Sylvester Stallone's reprise of his iconic Rocky character. It was the sole nomination for the critically acclaimed film, which many saw as yet another example of how the film academy is out of step with today's audiences. Stallone and Creed star Michael B. Jordan both took part in the Oscars.

Comedian Hannibal Buress hosted the free, livestreamed show. He joked that the woman who checked him in at his hotel in Flint didn't even mention the crisis, which has left Flint residents unable to drink unfiltered tap water. 

Flint Water Oscar Night Benefit

Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae and others close out the #JusticeForFlint event in Flint, Mich. (Conor Ralph/The Flint Journal-MLive.com/Associated Press)