Tag: Governors Awards

Chris Rock Returns for Second Stint as Academy Awards Host

Chris Rock will host the 88th Oscars, the film academy announced today, returning the comedian to a gig that earned him wildly divided reviews in his one and only turn at the job 11 years ago.

Rock’s second stint as host had been predicted as a strong possibility since the academy hired Reginald Hudlin and David Hill to produce the 2016 show. Hudlin worked with Rock previously, directing the pilot episode of Rock’s TV show “Everybody Hates Chris.” Hudlin also produced the academy’s Governors Awards last year where Rock was on hand to  pay tribute to Harry Belafonte.

The academy will hope that Rock can deliver better reviews and, more importantly, higher ratings than last year’s show. The 2015 telecast’s audience dropped nearly 15%, with host Neil Patrick Harris struggling through a sluggishly paced evening. In 2014, the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted show, with its star-studded selfie that temporarily disabled Twitter and other interactive skits and bits, drew an average of nearly 44 million viewers.

Rock’s previous stint as Oscars host produced a wide range of reactions, with USA Today crowning him “one of the worst hosts ever,” while Roger Ebert praised a “home run” opening monologue that was “surprisingly pointed, topical, and not shy of controversy.”

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Harry Belafonte Receives Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

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According to Deadline.com, Harry Belafonte was honored last night at the Sixth Annual Governors Awards of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.  Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and during his speech, galvanized the industry crowd by asking them to aim higher.

Belafonte gave one of the all-time great acceptance speeches at the Governors Awards, citing Hollywood’s often-shameful power to influence attitudes, and challenging the heavy-hitters in the room to instead create works that allow global audiences “to see the better side of who we are as a species.”

He reminded the crowd about “Birth of a Nation,” the early “Tarzan” films (depicting “inept, ignorant Africans”) and “Song of the South,” as well as the industry’s cowardice during the McCarthy hearings. He also referred to the industry’s decades-long treatment of Native Americans in films, “and at the moment, Arabs aren’t looking so good.” The industry doesn’t like trouble-makers and “on occasion, I have been one of its targets.”

But he said that “today’s harvest of films yields sweeter fruit,” citing “Schindler’s List,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “12 Years a Slave” as examples. He also thanked such inspirations as Langston HughesJames BaldwinEleanor Roosevelt and Paul Robeson, quoting the latter’s statement that “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth” as well as the radical voice of civilization.

He then called Sidney Poitier to the stage, recognizing the actor’s role in changing public attitudes toward blacks. And he added that he hopes things will improve this century: “Maybe it could be a civilization game-changer.”

Other Governors Awards winners were 94 year-old actress Maureen O’Hara, legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, and masterful screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere gave a moving tribute to Hollywood’s “forgotten” writers.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

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