Variety‘s Tim Gray is reporting that Chris Rock “is in serious talks” to host the 88th Academy Awards. “An official announcement [is] expected shortly,” Gray adds. Rock is funny but he flubbed the gig ten years ago…right? That was my clear impression. Hell, everyone’s. Those Jude Law jokes! No matter. Oscar co-producer Reginald Hudlin has worked with Rock before (he directed the pilot of Everybody Hates Chris) and it’s possible that decade-older Rock has learned a few things about what doesn’t work at the Oscars so maybe.
“Chris Rock’s material as Oscar host wasn’t inherently terrible, [but] here was a case where the talent just didn’t fit the crowd. From the moment Rock made it onstage, he was rushing through his material, skipping over pauses for laughter and applause whenever he sensed a joke wasn’t landing. Even if the bits themselves were good, Rock didn’t handle the lack of an audience response particularly well.
“His more obvious whiffs came when he poked fun at a very-prolific Jude Law and at actors who always seem to get picked second (in a bit of self-deprecation, the crowd wasn’t quite as amused as Rock was). But a perfect example of the night’s mood came in a way-too-long bit about no one wanting to make Passion of the Christ. Mild laughs faded into an uncomfortable silence as Rock went on and on, culminating in that infamous line: ‘That means Jude Law can get into a club easier than Mel Gibson and Jesus.’ Oprah’s horrified reaction said everything about Rock’s night.”