— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) October 21, 2015
A familiar face will return to the Oscars stage to host next year: Chris Rock. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live from Hollywood at 7 p.m. EST on February 28th.
The comedian, who also acts, writes, produces, directs and makes documentaries, last led the show in 2005. “Welcome to the 77th – and last – Academy Awards,” he joked at the beginning of his monologue that year.
The New York Times reports that that year’s broadcast attracted 42.2 million viewers, making the ratings for this year’s show, which attracted 37.3 million people to tune in, pale in comparison. Variety reports that that broadcast brought in the lowest ratings in six years for the Oscars. The awards show also drew criticism this year for a lack of diversity among the nominees. African-Americans have long watched the broadcast in sizable numbers, according to the outlet.
In the years since Rock hosted, the awards show has been led by Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal, Seth MacFarlane and two duos, Steve Martin with Alec Baldwin and James Franco with Anne Hathaway.
Although Rock, who recently directed Amy Schumer’s recent Live at the Apollo HBO special and who wrote, directed and starred in last year’s Top Five, has never been nominated for an Oscar himself, he has received recognition from other awards shows in recent years. In 2006, he won a Grammy for his record Never Scared, and in 2009, he took home an Emmy for Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger – London, New York, Johannesburg, which aired on HBO. The Broadway play The Motherfucker With the Hat, in which he made his Broadway debut, was nominated for Best Play at the 2012 Tony Awards.
by Kory Grow