Along with the film community, I've been long speculating who would be announced as the host of the upcoming 88th Academy Awards. Whoever is chosen has to preside over Hollywood's biggest night, and it is a tricky gig, as we have seen misfires recently with first-time hosts -- Neil Patrick Harris bombed badly this year, and Seth MacFarlane offended one too many people two years ago. It seems as if the AMPAS has come to its senses and hired someone pretty reliable and popular enough to be a great host -- Chris Rock.
Rock, who last hosted in 2005, follows Ellen Degeneres in 2014 as a previous host getting their second go-around at hosting the big night. Rock was criticized for his jokes when he last hosted, which included a particular controversial joke about Jude Law, and some very edgy political humour. However, if recent years have shown us anything, it is better to get someone consistent than someone entirely popular and incredibly relevant in pop culture at that very moment. Much like Degeneres, Rock is still very popular and beloved, but he's a seasoned comedy veteran who doesn't need to prove much.
Rock will host the first show in three years not to be produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. Meron and Zadan were criticized heavily for making the Academy Awards a bland and dull affair, with attempts at spectacle and extravagance. They were also critically ravaged for their constant use of themes for each of the year's ceremonies and their pointless musical performances that have nothing to do with the movies that year (who remembers the ill-fated musical medley in 2013, or the beautiful but pointless Lady Gaga performance earlier this year?). Meron and Zadan have not been seen in a positive light in the cinephile community, so their departure from the producers' chairs signals change that we greatly welcome.
Taking their place as producers are a pair of producing veterans. David Hill is a seasoned veteran who has produced everything from sports broadcasts to reality competitions to awards shows. The other producer is one of the most diverse men in Hollywood, Reginald Hudlin, who (and believe me when I say he is diverse) has produced television shows, films (he was nominated for an Academy Award for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained) and written for Marvel Comics. He is also a notable entertainment tycoon, serving as president of BET Entertainment for several years.
The choice of Rock as host hopefully means that Hudlin and Hill are planning to produce an Academy Awards ceremony that lives up to the greatest broadcasts in its history. Maybe we will get a broadcast that has a host who brings edgy humour and some funny jokes to the show, and a few (relevant) musical performances and serves the ultimate purpose of the Academy Awards -- giving awards to people in the film industry.
The 88th Academy Awards will air on February 28th, 2016 on ABC. Will you be tuning in to see Chris Rock host Hollywood's biggest night?