Chris Rock isn’t quite done preparing for the Oscars – but not because he’s writing a new script.
On Monday, Rock’s rep refuted claims that the host rewrote his opening monologue for the awards ceremony following the #OscarSoWhite controversy.
“Regarding Reggie Hudlin’s comments about Chris Rock’s Oscar hosting duties, neither he nor anyone else speaks for Chris,” the comedian’s publicist, Leslie Sloane, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Over the weekend, Oscar co-producer Reggie Hudlin suggested that Rock had made significant changes to his monologue, saying the host told him, “I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.”
But according to Rock’s publicist, that is simply not true.
“Chris has made no decision about the content of the show. All will be revealed on February 28th. We will not comment further on this,” Sloane explained.
Rock, 50, previously joked about the Academy Awards’ ongoing race issue – which resurfaced earlier this month after an all-white acting nominee list was announced for the second consecutive year – when he tweeted a promo for the show calling it “the white BET Awards.”
The Academy responded to the firestorm of criticism, releasing a new set of guidelines in order to make its “membership, its governing bodies and its voting members significantly more diverse.”
Rod Lurie, a member of the Academy’s directors branch, penned an open letter in The Hollywood Reporter, in which he praised the organization’s actions and future goals, and offered a few ideas of his own on how they can keep improving.
“In order to immediately deal with this situation I’d like to offer up a radical solution: nominations should no longer be determined by the entire membership. Instead every branch of the Academy should appoint a blue ribbon committee to select its nominees.”
He explained that each blue ribbon member would “debate, cajole and argue” the cases for each film and would together vote to determine the five nominees. Then the entire membership would vote on the winners.
Meanwhile, even more Academy members are speaking out about the controversy, including Jerry Hardin, Jennifer Warren and Asa Maynor. Many have expressed overwhelming support for Straight Outta Compton – one of this year’s major snubs.
“I loved Straight Outta Compton. I thought it was terrific, but I guess not enough people did,” said Maynor, who appeared in the 1975 film Night Moves.
“I voted for Straight Outta Compton for best film, at the top of the list,” agreed Warren, who spent 20 years in the film industry, adding, “And I happen to think Creed, the director and the leading man should have been nominated.”
While Hardin, who appeared as Deep Throat on The X-Files in did not reveal his votes, he said race did not play into how he cast his ballot.
“Race had nothing to do with any of my votes. The Academy’s Oscar is an effort to honor and recognize excellence in film and storytelling. Race and political correctness has no place in the process, nor should it have.”
But while some Academy members are going against the grain and revealing their votes in light of this year’s snubs, other celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg, said that the Academy is not to blame, and point to a larger diversity problem among Hollywood.
“My thing with this Oscar thing is, the issue is not the Academy,” said Goldberg while appearing on The View. “Even if you fill the Academy with black and Latino and Asian members, if there’s no one on the screen to vote for, you’re not going to get the outcome that you want.”
“If it’s not on the screen, you can’t vote for it,” she stressed. “It has to be on the screen.”