It looks like the Academy’s between a Rock and a hard place.
They had the right idea asking Chris Rock to host the 2023 Oscars, but they didn’t get him to say Yes. In Hollywood, that usually means they didn’t offer enough money. But since Hollywood Rule One is to never take the first No, they should make him a new offer he won’t refuse.
Rock confirmed he said no and made a tasteless joke that it was like asking Nicole Simpson to return to the restaurant that inadvertently led to her murder. It’s a mistake for Rock to skip the Oscar limelight that would bring him lots of Hollywood goodwill for coming back.
Rock hosting would be ratings boost the Academy won’t find elsewhere. His return after being smacked onstage by Oscar winner Will Smith (pictured) would be the best way to attract viewers to bloated awards show about movies they likely haven’t seen.
ABC’s warning last year that the Oscar telecast can’t run over three hours fell on deaf Academy ears as it came in at 3 hours 40 minutes. That fourth hour lowers the night’s average rating, which doesn’t help ABC sell commercials with prime-plus pricing.
It should help that since 3/27’s Oscar debacle the Academy now has much better leadership. Hopefully, they’ll be able to sign Rock and make the 95th Oscars the success it should be.