The producers of the Oscars couldn’t have known how serendipitous the choice of Chris Rock as host was at the time, but given the controversy surrounding this year’s lack of diversity in the nominees, boy did they luck out. Simply seeing what Rock has to say about #OscarsSoWhite is reason enough to tune in later this month (aside from seeing Leonardo DiCaprio finally get that gold statue, of course), and ABC has released a new series of promos touting Rock’s hosting duties. They are…kind of painfully unfunny, but they were also recorded over a month ago so the lack of commentary isn’t particularly striking.
But regardless of these promos, Rock’s a top-notch standup comedian who’s not known for keeping his opinion to himself, so I’m incredibly eager to see just how far his opening monologue will go. This is Rock’s second time hosting, as he previously acted as Master of Ceremonies in 2005, the year Million Dollar Baby took home the big prize. This year’s crop of Best Picture contenders offers plenty of comedic fodder for Rock to play with, but I do hope we get some sharp, incisive commentary as opposed to a simple series of mostly tame jokes; the most entertaining Oscar ceremonies are the ones in which the host feels like he or she is just this side of pissing everyone in the room off.
So take a look at the promos below, and for my thoughts on the current state of the Best Picture race, click here. The Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on February 28th.