Chris Rock is returning to host the Oscars this Sunday amid the #OscarsSoWhite protests. But the actor had once said that he wouldn’t take the MC spot again unless there were a lot more black people on the show.
The comedian said that about 10 years ago on CBS’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” just after hosting the 2005 awards ceremony, and Vulture dug up the clip.
During the interview, Letterman and Rock compared their Oscars hosting experiences (Letterman served as the show’s host in 1995 in a notable low point). At one point (about 3:05 into the clip), Letterman asked Rock if he would host again.
“Yeah, if there are a lot of black people on it, I would do the show again. Oh, it was black that night, man,” he joked. “Jamie Foxx and Morgan [Freeman] and Beyoncé. It was like the Def Oscar Jam.”
In fact, 2005 was a relatively good night for diversity. Foxx won best actor for playing Ray Charles in “Ray,” and Freeman was named best supporting actor for “Million Dollar Baby.” Beyoncé, Antonio Banderas, Carlos Santana, and Yo Yo Ma performed.
But Rock will next host one of the most controversial awards, in which all the acting nominees are white for the second year in a row. In Rock’s defence, when he signed on to host this year’s ceremony, the nominees had not yet been announced.
Spike Lee, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and other celebritie are sitting out this year’s Oscars in protest, and others like George Clooney have expressed their anger over the lack of nominees of colour.
In response, the Academy reiterated its intention to make diversity a priority, and is changing some rules to do so. And Rock reportedly went back to the drawing board to craft a show script that reflected the #OscarsSoWhite protests.
The Academy also announced a list of presenters that looks much more diverse than many of the nomination categories.
Rock has consistently shown he could bring humour to the scrutinised event through various tweets, such as this one posted on Friday morning:
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) February 26, 2016
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