Chris Rock still plans on hosting next month’s Academy Awards amid Hollywood’s ongoing diversity debate — but that doesn’t mean he’s ignoring the issue, according to the show’s producer.
The comedian is vigorously reworking his script to address the much-talked-about lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars, producer Reginald Hudlin told Entertainment Tonight on Saturday.
“Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Hudlin said. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.'”
Hollywood has been buzzing the past two weeks after no minority stars were nominated in any of the main acting categories for a second straight year.
Shortly after the nominees were announced, several A-list stars such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith announced they won’t be attending the Oscars in protest, while others like actor Tyrese Gibson and rapper 50 Cent called for Rock to drop out of the show to make a statement.
But other entertainment icons, including comedian Ricky Gervais and actress Viola Davis, have suggested Rock use the controversial award show as a platform to address the underrepresentation of minorities in the film industry — and the “Top 5” star appears set to do just that.
“You should expect (jokes about the issue),” Hudlin said. “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”
Rock has remained almost entirely silent on the polarizing matter over the past two weeks — including on Saturday night, when he declined to address whether he planned to host with a TMZ reporter as he left The Comedy Club in Los Angeles.
The 50-year-old comedian did, however, jokingly tease the Oscars as the “white BET awards” on Twitter last week.