Chris Rock is returning to host next year’s Oscars ceremony, its producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin have announced.
The actor and comedian previously hosted the 77th annual Academy Awards in 2005, when the reception to his opening monologue and some controversial jokes was mixed.
“I’m so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” Rock said. “It’s great to be back.”
The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday 28 February, 2016.
Last year’s ceremony, hosted by television and Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris, had the lowest Oscar ratings for six years, and were down 16% on the previous year, when Ellen DeGeneres had been at the helm.
“Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” said Hill and Hudlin. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian – he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host. “
“We share David and Reggie’s excitement in welcoming Chris, whose comedic voice has really defined a generation,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
“He is certain to bring his amazing array of talents to this year’s show.”
In 2005 – the year that Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby won best picture – Rock received a standing ovation before uttering a word and began by ordering the assembled A-listers to “sit your asses down”.
But as the LA Times recalls, Rock’s performance was met with a range of reactions. USA Today described him “one of the worst hosts ever” while critic Roger Ebert praised a “home run” opening monologue that was “not shy of controversy”.
Rock’s recent film roles include I Think I Love My Wife, Head of State, Death at a Funeral and and the first three films in the blockbuster Madagascar series, as the voice of Marty.
In 2009 he wrote, produced and presented the documentary Good Hair.
On TV, he created the series Everybody Hates Chris, which ran from 2005 to 2009.
He most recently directed the TV comedy special Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, which premiered this month on HBO.