Chris Rock -- who last hosted the Oscars in 2005 -- will be back to host the next one in 2016.
“Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” said David Hill and Reginald Hudlin, co-producers of the show. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian – he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host!”
“I'm so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” said Rock. “It's great to be back.”
Not a complete surprise: Variety Tuesday reported that Rock was in talks to handle the 88th awards ceremony -- saying an announcement was imminent and that the Academy had declined to comment.
Rock's 77th Awards ceremony host outing wasn't a bad one, if memory serves, but as Variety noted, it was a pointed one: He didn't come to make any friends, and judging by the fact that he wasn't asked back until now, he may well not have. (Or maybe Rock was asked back, and rejected the offer anyway, under the heading No Love Lost.) This was the show where he joked that Jude Law was in too many movies, and Sean Penn, who was a presenter, sniped back at him.
And now let the debate begin: Do hosts matter anyway? Sure they do. They get press, get people talking, get critics to write about the show the next day... Hosts do indeed serve a function. What's not clear is whether that function involves the actual boosting of ratings. They've declined gradually, inexorably, over the past decade, while 2015's Neil Patrick Harris-hosted show was a low-water mark (37.3 million) and the least-viewed awards telecast since 2008, when Jon Stewart hosted (32 million). For the record, Rock's did just fine: 42.2 million.
Broadcast will originate from the Dolby Theatre Feb. 28.