How’s this for irony—the Academy Awards of #OscarsSoWhite fame are hoping the return of Chris Rock will mean big ratings. It turns out the last time Rock, a Black man, hosted in 2005, the Oscars show enjoyed one of its biggest viewing audiences ever, despite people hating on comedian/actor.
Reports the New York Times:
The last time Chris Rock hosted the Oscars, he was judged by many to be a bust.
“Loud, snide and dismissive, he wasn’t just a disappointment,” wrote the USA Today critic Robert Bianco in 2005. “He ranks up there with the worst hosts ever.” Other reports noted that the audience for Mr. Rock’s show had dropped by 5 percent, to about 42.2 million viewers, from the year before, when Billy Crystal did the honors.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the future.
It would take nine years for another host to beat Mr. Rock’s audience. That was Ellen DeGeneres, who got 43.7 million viewers in 2014 — and, measured against a larger population, she actually fell a bit short of his Nielsen ratings.
As for snide and dismissive, almost anything that gets the numbers up when Mr. Rock takes the Oscars stage on Sunday will most likely be fine with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars, and ABC, which broadcasts the show.
Returning after 11 years, Mr. Rock inherits a ceremony in crisis, as the academy grapples with a deeper problem than the television ratings: diversity.
Will you be tuning in to the Oscars? Be sure to let us know, because we’re passing, out of respect for Straight Outta Compton and every other actor of color who got jerked this year.