Chris Rock will return as Oscar host next February, producers said Wednesday, returning to the spotlight more than a decade after a sharp-edged outing that drew criticism by some A-list stars.
“Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” said producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian–he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host!”
With a stage comedy, television and film career spanning more than three decades, Rock most recently directed the special Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, which premiered this month on HBO. In 2014, he wrote, directed and starred in the film Top Five. He also had a role in the season premiere of the Fox hit Empire last month.
In 2005, Rock paced the stage and delivered some inside comic fastballs, zinging Jude Law and Russell Crowe, among others. The hosting stint drew a rebuke from Sean Penn, who said the host should not take shots at the likes of Law, "one of our finest actors." Rock did not reappear on the Oscar stage until 2012, when he was a presenter.
“I'm so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” said Rock. “It's great to be back.”
The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC starting at 7 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories.
“Chris Rock is a comedic powerhouse who will bring tremendous energy to the event, and we’re honored to have him,” said Paul Lee, president ABC Entertainment Group.
Dade Hayes contributed to this report.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.