Comedian Chris Rock has become a very appetizing choice to Motion Picture Academy organizers to possibly host the 2023 Academy Awards.
Rock experienced substantial popularity and financial windfalls immediately following the “slap heard around the world” that was served by Oscar-winner Will Smith on March 27.
In the aftermath of Smith’s smack down of Rock for his crude joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, Rock was suddenly thrust into a sympathetic light for perhaps the first time in his career. Overnight, his national concert tour became instantaneous sellouts as fans crave any words Rocks may have regarding the Men in Black and Independence Day star.
“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show. Obviously, there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program,” Craig Erwich, ABC’s president of entertainment, told Deadline. “Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way.”
Erwich has a point. The Oscars’ ratings rose to 16.6 million viewers in 2022, though that still pales in comparison to the 2020 viewership of 23.6 million just before the onslaught of the pandemic. Undoubtedly, if Rock were to host the Oscars for the third time next year, it would generate a tidal wave of interest from pop culture — at least for the opening monologue.
Rock has been adamant in not speaking about Will Smith until he secures the bag. However, after Dave Chappelle was attacked at the Hollywood Bowl by a struggling rapper who stormed the stage on May 3, 2022, Rock blurted out some funny Smith material.
“Was that Will Smith?” Rock joked following the attack, which generated guffaws from the soldout crowd at the “Netflix Is a Joke” comedy festival in Los Angeles. During a subsequent show of Chappelle’s, Rock came on stage and the two comedians hilariously exchanged notes on their attackers.
After Chappelle quipped that at least Rock got attacked by a renowned personality, Rock retorted, “I got smacked by the softest n—a that ever rapped.”
The 95th Academy Awards is scheduled to take place on March 12, 2023.