Picking up the torch from Neil Patrick Harris, The Powers That Be have announced that standup comedian and actor Chris Rock will return to host the 2016 Oscars ceremony on February 28.
This will mark the second time that Rock has taken to the stage on Hollywood’s famous evening, after hosting the 77th annual Academy Awards exactly a decade ago. On this occasion, the actor will host the 88th Oscars, and in an official statement, producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin welcomed Rock’s appointment with open arms, stating that his “comedic voice has really defined a generation.”
Making the news official, Rock then posted the following photo via his personal Twitter account.
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) October 21, 2015
He’ll have a job to do, though, considering that last year’s show marked a steep 16% decline in viewing figures, with studio executives later revealing that Neil Patrick Harris had not been the first choice to host 2015’s show – rather, the Academy tried to court Ellen DeGeneres back for a second consecutive outing. Though Hill and Hudlin are naturally full of praise for Chris Rock as he lands the gig, the actor was subject to his fair share of mixed reactions off the back of the 2005 show, with some claiming him to be “the worst host ever” while others, including the late Roger Ebert, describing Rock’s opening speech as a “home run.”
Then again, no matter who bites the bullet to step onto the stage and host one of – if not the – most prestigious nights in Hollywood, a divisive reaction unfolds. In the time since Rock last hosted, Jon Stewart, Seth MacFarlane, Billy Crystal, Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, James Franco and Anne Hathaway have all been criticized in their own way. Mixed reviews are almost part of the deal at this point.
Chris Rock is your host for the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, and the 2016 Oscars will take place on Sunday, February 28.