I mean, what are the chances he’ll get slapped again?
It really would be the funniest, most poetically just way to kick off next year’s show, wouldn’t it? Speaking to Deadline, President of Entertainment at ABC Craig Erwhich said he was open to the idea of Chris Rock, who was of course on the receiving end of one of the most controversial moments in the television history in March, hosting next year’s Oscars ceremony on March 12.
“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show,” Erwhich said. “Obviously there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program. Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way.”
Ironically, the controversy — in which Will Smith went on-stage during the show and slapped Rock over a joke that the comedian made at the expense of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith — that “overshadowed” the show was in fact likely largely responsible for the bump in ratings that Erwhich expressed satisfaction about. In the aftermath of the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which also banned the actor from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years.
The idea of Rock hosting would be wild, but oddly logical: he’s hosted the show before, and it would guarantee a ratings boost for a show that has been suffering from dwindling viewership. Who wouldn’t want to tune in just to see how he’ll address the elephant in the Dolby Theatre?
And, putting aside any side-taking, it also just feels right. The entire fiasco already gave us one of the wildest examples yet of just how unhinged Hollywood is — from every second of the incident itself, to Will Smith accepting an Oscar an hour later amid a standing ovation to his eyebrow-raising acceptance speech, to the range of reactions from every celeb in the aftermath. So naturally, why not give us all the proper twist Hollywood ending with Rock hosting the whole she-bang a year later?
Then again, the bigger obstacle might be in Rock himself agreeing to take the gig — after all, would he willingly want to prolong this incident being synonymous with his reputation? Rock has referenced the incident briefly at his comedy shows, but has yet to say anything substantive. "Don't expect me to talk about the bullshit,” he said at a show in London earlier this month. “I’ll talk about it at some point — on Netflix. Your tickets were expensive, but not that expensive."