Oscars: Neil Patrick Harris Offers Chris Rock Hosting Advice

Chris Rock - H 2015
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

This story first appeared in the Dec. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

In the 10 years since Chris Rock hosted the Oscars, awards shows have become measured by their headline-provoking social media stunts.

So is it important to brainstorm visual gags or controversial moments to trigger a buzzy spike? Oscars 2015 host Neil Patrick Harris naysayed such gimmicks for the 2016 emcee, and is instead looking forward to the comedian's onstage honesty.

"Chris Rock, he's amazing," Harris told The Hollywood Reporter at the Dec. 3 Broadway opening of The Color Purple. "The most effective hosts are people who know comedy innately, and he — by design — is one of the smartest comedians around, so it allows him free rein to say anything and speak his mind."

Seth MacFarlane, on the other hand, knows a thing or two about Internet frenzy after his 2013 turn fueled feminist ire, and declined to give hosting advice. Instead, he laughed, "There's no way that question won't bite me in the ass!"