Updated on 10/21/15 by Parker Hall: Updated to reflect the fact that sources at Variety have now confirmed that Chris Rock will be the host of the 88th annual Oscars. Previously, this article listed the possibility of Rock hosting the awards show as only a rumor.
Comedian Chris Rock is will host this year’s 88th annual Academy Awards, according to a report from Variety. Next year’s ceremony will be Rock’s second go around, having hosted the star-studded awards show in 2005.
The legendary comedian received critical acclaim for his previous stint as emcee, though he did upset a few audience members, most notably Sean Penn, when he made a joke implying that Jude Law was only starring in so many films because he was a low-rent Tom Cruise.
Ten years later, any controversy associated with Rock’s original gig as host has definitely blown over.
Producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill were announced as the new head honchos of the televised event in early September, taking over the Oscars after the ceremony dropped 16 percent in TV ratings in 2015. Last year’s host, actor Neil Patrick Harris, was not asked to return.
As far as replacements go, Rock makes sense — the legendary comedian previously worked with Hudlin on his flashback-style TV series Everybody Hates Chris, and is just the kind of big-name host the show needs to re-gain precious viewers.
What nobody is certain of is how the overall format of the awards will change; Hudlin and Hill have stated that they desire to do something new with the show, while still retaining classic elements for longtime viewers. “Above all, I want the show to be tight and fast-paced,” said Hudlin, “This is the biggest canvas you can paint on; the world is watching. And we want it to be for movie fans and for filmmakers.”
Rock has demonstrated a desire to return as host in recent years. In fact, amid rumors that he might host last year’s ceremony, Rock said he wasn’t offered the job, but that he would “definitely” have taken it.
The awards show will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on February 28, 2016.