Stephen M. Silverman
February 15, 2005 08:00 AM

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is standing behind in-your-face comedian Chris Rock as its choice to host the Feb. 27 Oscar ceremony, despite remarks he made in an interview that have reputedly have called his suitability into question.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly magazine, Rock is quoted as saying of Hollywood’s biggest night: “Come on, it’s a fashion show. … Nothing against people who aren’t straight, but what straight guy that you know really cares? What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one. And they don’t recognize comedy, and you don’t see a lot of black people nominated, so why should I watch it?”

He also called the notion of giving awards for art “idiotic.”

Although the online Drudge Report posted the speculation that unnamed Academy members wanted Rock replaced as host, Oscar producer Gil Cates issued a statement on Monday denying that anyone had taken offense.

“The Academy is excited about Chris Rock hosting this year’s Oscar telecast and looking forward to a very funny evening with him,” Cates said. “Chris’s comments over the past few weeks are meant to be humorous digs at the show that some people, obviously including Chris himself, think may be a bit too stuffy.”

Similarly, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement supporting Rock’s comments. “Chris Rock isn’t making fun of gays – he’s poking fun at the Oscars,” GLAAD executive director Joan Garry said, according to Reuters. “It’s shtick.”

Rock has yet to issue a comment about the purported controversy – which may, in fact, help boost the Oscars’ TV ratings.

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