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2016 Oscars Host Chris Rock Is ‘Writing a New Show’ Following Controversy

Carlo Allegri, Getty Images
Carlo Allegri, Getty Images

Although some in the industry had called for Chris Rock to join the boycott of the 2016 Oscars, the actor and comedian will host the show as planned — though there will be some changes. Rock has reportedly tossed out much of his material in order to address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that’s inspired Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith to boycott the ceremony, while the Academy has announced a sweeping initiative to increase diversity.

While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin said that Chris Rock told him, “I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show,” adding that Rock “and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” where they are reworking the host’s monologue.

It would be impossible for Rock to take the stage on February 28 and not address the Oscars controversy that began a couple of weeks ago, when the Academy formally announced its annual list of nominees. For the second year in a row, the Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress categories featured only white actors. To add insult to injury, the only people to receive nominations for Straight Outta Compton and Creed were white, with Sylvester Stallone picking up a Best Supporting Actor nod and the four white screenwriters behind Compton earning a Best Original Screenplay nod.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the awards ceremony this year, while Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has formally announced an initiative to drastically increase diversity in the voting body. Those changes are to be implemented in full by 2020, so it may be a few years yet before we see any real change.

Rock himself penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter in 2014 on the topic of racism and the need for diversity in Hollywood, and his opening monologue for this year’s Oscars is sure to be just as sharp, insightful and hilarious as we expect from the veteran comedian.

For more, we put together this supercut honoring the 14 black actors who have won Oscar statues in the Academy’s 87-year history:

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