The news, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, marks the first time the comedian will host the ceremony, which will air on ABC. Kimmel previously hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards, first in 2012 and this past September, as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars.
This is the Academy Awards’ first new emcee since Neil Patrick Harris hosted in 2015. Chris Rock returned after a decade to host the 88th ceremony, which was plagued with controversy after the Academy failed to nominate any person of color in the four acting categories.
Outrage over the lack of diversity led many stars, including Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, to boycott the ceremony. Rock addressed the #Oscarssowhite controversy head-on during his opening monologue, calling Hollywood's biggest night the “White People's Choice Awards.”
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While Rock made light of #Oscarssowhite, he came under fire for what many perceived to be a joke at the expense of Asians.
During the telecast, the 51-year-old comedian invited the accountants from PricewaterhouseCooper, who calculate the Academy voting results, to join him on stage. Instead of actual employees, three young Asian children dressed in suits and carrying briefcases were brought on stage and introduced by Rock as Ming Zu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz.
“If anybody's upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids,” he said. The joke is believed to be a veiled reference to Asia child labor laws.
Following the sketch, many celebrities, including Constance Wu and NBA star Jeremy Lin, shared their distaste on Twitter. Later, in March, George Takei, Sandra Oh and Ang Lee signed an open letter to the Academy, protesting a number of “tasteless” skits that took place during the 88th ceremony.
The 89th Academy Awards will air on ABC on Feb. 26, 2017.