Eleven years later, he’ll rock the Oscars boat a second time.
Comedian Chris Rock will host the 2016 Academy Awards on Feb. 28, the Academy confirmed Wednesday morning.The “Everybody Hates Chris” creator ruffled plenty of feathers when he last emceed Hollywood’s biggest night in 2005.
“Chris may be best known as a stand-up comic, but we think of him as a creative innovator in many other ways. He is unafraid in his artistry,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome him back to the Oscars.”
Ratings for the 2015 awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, saw a decline of 16% from the previous year — the telecast’s lowest viewership in six years. Oscar producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin said in previous interviews that they were considering two hosts for the upcoming ceremony.
The 50-year-old Grammy-winning comic has previously worked with Hudlin, who directed the pilot episode of “Everybody Hates Chris” (2005-2009).
The most memorable moment of the “Top Five” director’s 2005 hosting gig came with a joke at Jude Law’s expense.
“If you want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law, wait!” Rock joked during a bit about filmmakers rushing to cast their movies.
Sean Penn fired back when he came onstage to present the Oscar for best actress, arguing that Law was “one of our finest actors.”
In the weeks leading up to that ceremony, the raunchy comedian also raised eyebrows when he likened it to a frivolous fashion show during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one,” he said. “And they don’t recognize comedy, and you don’t see a lot of black people nominated, so why should I watch it?”
The Academy gamely defended Rock’s comments at the time, claiming they were “meant to be humorous digs at the show that some people, obviously including Chris himself, think may be a bit too stuffy.”