Chris Rock to Host the 2016 Academy Awards

by Stacy Lambe 8:43 AM PDT, October 21, 2015
Playing Chris Rock to Host the 2016 Academy Awards

It’s official! Chris Rock will return to host the Academy Awards live when it airs on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

The 88th ceremony -- produced by David Hill and Reginald Hudlin -- will be the actor’s second time hosting in just over a decade. “I'm so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” Rock said in a statement to ET. “It's great to be back.”

Rock, 50, first hosted the ceremony in 2005, when more than 42 million people tuned in to see Million Dollar Baby take home the Oscar for Best Picture. 

His return does come after some controversy over a joke Rock made about Jude Law, suggesting he was nearly as talented as Tom Cruise. Sean Penn responded to Rock while presenting the Oscar for Best Actress, saying Law was one of the “finest actors” of this generation. Law himself even took issue with the joke.

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“Then I got angry as his remarks became personal,” he told The New York Times one year later. “My friends were livid. It's unfortunate I had five or six films come out at the same time.”

But Rock’s hosting duties also earned him praise. “Chris Rock hit a home run with his opening monologue, which was surprisingly pointed, topical, and not shy of controversy,” Roger Ebert noted

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The Oscars will cap a banner year for Rock, who earned critical praise for writing and directing Top Five, appeared in season 2 of Empire, and directed Amy Schumer's HBO stand-up special. 

Let’s hope Rock brings all the laughs in February next year when the ceremony airs on ABC at 7 p.m. ET.