#OscarsSoWhite: Academy Chief Says Host Chris Rock Will "Go There"

"Our selection of Chris was to bring some edge," Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs tells THR in a wide-ranging interview about the Oscars controversy and resulting changes.

Yes, Chris Rock is going to "go there."

When the host kicks off the Feb. 28 Oscars, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs tells The Hollywood Reporter that viewers can expect Rock to tackle #OscarsSoWhite.

"Well, we've always known he was gonna go there, right?" says Boone Isaacs during an hourlong conversation with Janice Min, the president and CCO of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group. "This is Chris. We know who he is."

Despite speculation about whether or not the comedian would bring up the ongoing controversy in his opening monologue, Boone Isaacs says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would expect nothing less from the second-time host.

"He is a brilliant, brilliant, observant comedian and performer, and he is a brilliant host," she says. "And yes, we want him to [go there].

"Way before this, our selection of Chris was to bring some edge and some fun and some funny —intelligent funny — to the telecast. So we know he's going to do that."

Rock — who in 2014 wrote about race in Hollywood for THR — first addressed the lack of diversity in this year's nominees with a tweet on Jan. 15, calling the Oscars "The White BET Awards."

But Rock never considered dropping out as host, she says — even as responses from celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith caused a "boycott" movement to quickly permeate social media and Hollywood. (The Academy was quick to respond with reforms to promote diversification.)

"No," says Boone Isaacs, who was joined by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson for the sitdown. "No, no."




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