Chris Rock is still on board to host the Oscars this year despite calls for him to join the boycott protesting the Academy’s lack of diversity.
Variety had first reported Friday that sources said Rock would remain as host of the ceremony. Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin told Entertainment Tonight at Saturday’s NAACP Image Awards lunch that Rock’s opening monologue will address the #OscarsSoWhite conversation in a big way. Rock reportedly reworked his entire set of jokes when such figures as Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith announced they would be boycotting the ceremony.
“Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Hudlin told ET. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.'”
He added, “Chris is that thorough. He’s that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”
Hudlin indicated that he and his team are prepared for Rock to make some controversial statements.
“And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that,” Hudlin said. “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.”
Confirmation of Rock’s hosting duties come on the heels of the Academy’s Friday announcement that it would overhaul its membership in order to promote diversity, aiming to double its number of female and minority members by the year 2020.