Chris Rock Not Dropping Out Of Oscars, Rewriting Monologue to Address #OscarsSoWhite Outrage
by Emily Krauser
Outrage over the lack of diversity among nominees at the Oscars will not keep Chris Rock from his hosting duties, the show’s producer told ET exclusively.
ET’s Nischelle Turner sat down with Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin at the 47th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon on Saturday, where he confirmed that Rock will not be dropping out of the show.
Hudlin also revealed that though the 50-year-old comedian finished writing his monologue a week ago, once the #OscarsSoWhite outrage came to a head with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s pledge to boycott, Rock scrapped his jokes and started working on a new script.
“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.'”
“Chris is that thorough,” Hudlin added. “He’s that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”
According to Hudlin, Rock isn’t steering away from the issue of a white-washed group of nominees, but rather diving right into the fire.
“You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin told ET. “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.”
The Academy Awards ceremony won’t take place until Feb. 28, but Rock has already addressed the controversy, tweeting an ad for the Oscars and writing, “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards.”
This will be Rock’s second time hosting the Oscars. His first emcee gig came in 2005.
Earlier this week, ET spoke to Viola Davis, who said the real problem wasn’t with the Oscars but rather the films that are being produced, as the majority do not predominately feature actors of color. The How to Get Away With Murder star said that though Tyrese had suggested Rock drop the gig, it was up to Rock to decide for himself.
“Like I said, the Oscars are not really the issue,” she said. “It’s a symptom of a much greater disease. But if he does [host], I hope he takes it as an opportunity to make a statement, a social statement about change. It’s 2016.”
The Pinkett-Smiths have been two of the loudest dissenters against this year’s predominately white nominations — the second year in a row that the discrepancy has occurred — but they’re far from the only actors to speak out. In addition to Davis and Tyrese, George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg, Tessa Thompson, Lupita Nyong’o and Stacey Dash are among the many who’ve weighed in on both the nominations and possible boycotts.