Kieran, here. It was officially confirmed earlier this morning that Chris Rock will host the 88th Academy Awards. This will be Rock's second stint as Oscar emcee after his gig at the 2004 Oscars (held in 2005...get it right). I want to first say that I am a Chris Rock fan. His social commentary, particularly about race in America, is incredibly incisive. That being said, I can't say I'm super eager to see Rock as host again. If you hold Chris Rock up against the people who have hosted since he first did, he'd rank him somewhere in the lower middle; he didn't reach the gold standard that was Hugh Jackman in 2008 nor was he the abysmal basement that was Seth MacFarlane in 2012.
With many eyes on the annual announcement of the Oscar host, we wonder why more attention isn't paid to who's actually producing the show. They're the ones determining the architecture of an Oscar telecast much more so than the host. Jackman was a terrific host but Bill Condon really deserves a lot of credit for hiring great writers and coming up with that simple yet cohesive structure of the show. On the lower end of the spectrum, Anne Hathaway has a better Oscar hosting gig in her than what we saw -- blame the writing and the production (and James Franco) for that show.
The Chris Rock announcement is unsurprising (save for their earlier buzz that we'd have two hosts... perhaps a duo turned them down?). AMPAS often retreats to someone familiar after they experiment with a frisky choice and it (arguably) doesn't go well. Think Billy Crystal in reaction to Franco and Hathaway and Ellen DeGeneres in reaction to Seth MacFarlane. After Neil Patrick Harris' hosting gig received mixed response at best, I suspected that a familiar face, most likely a stand-up comedian would get the job. Fingers crossed that Rock has learned his lesson and doesn't make an ill-timed "Who is Michael Fassbender?" joke.
Are you excited to see Chris Rock return as host?