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Update: Chris Rock's publicist has since Denied Reggie Hudlin's Quote, encouraging us to tune in on the night to see how his material pans out.
With this year's Academy Awards ceremony a little over a month away, a lot of the moving pieces that make the biggest night in Hollywood so spectacular are being locked in. A big portion of that finely tuned machine are the jokes and segues that host Chris Rock will deploy to keep the night of entertainment moving. Of course, with the latest controversy involving the lack of diversity in the acting nominations, those jokes are being reworked from top to bottom.
Oscar telecast producer Reginald Hudlin recently spoke with The Wrap, and stated that not only has Rock supposedly proclaimed that he's retooling the opening monologue for this year's show, but he's ready to write a brand new show for the night. This is based on Hudlin telling the publication that Chris Rock gave him the following update on the show's material:
I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.
Ever since the controversy known commonly as "#OscarsSoWhite" reared its head, there's been a lot of talk from every angle after the second year in a row without any acting nominations for a performance by an African American. So naturally, when you have a host like Chris Rock set to host the already controversial telecast, he's going to want to rework his material to play into the issues of the day. It's one of the reasons why Rock worked as an Oscar host back in 2005, and it's why letting him rewrite his material for next month's gala is a smart move.
While it may seem like a pretty risky move to rewrite the Oscars telecast at this late in the game, the reworking of Chris Rock's material serves another purpose: it starts to repair the damage. When the controversy hit the Oscars, it eroded the trust in the institution that is the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. So in concert with the statements and changes that The Academy has already made in reference to the nomination process, it's going to let Rock poke fun at them a little more than usual.
Whatever Chris Rock says with his jokes on Oscar night won't fix the grievances that people have with their lack of diversity, but hopefully it'll prove that The Academy recognizes that their system needs some work – and taking themselves a little less seriously is a good step in the right direction. We'll have to wait until The 88th Annual Academy Awards to see if this winds up being as wise a move as it looks. The show will air on Sunday, February 28th at 7 PM EST on ABC.