Chris Rock Hosting the 2023 Oscars Is a Rumor That Reeks of Desperation

It was just a moment in time at the 2022 Academy Awards, but it could shape the 2023 Oscars. Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s baldness. Will Smith laughed at first, but then he took offense, walked on stage, and slapped Rock in the most shocking event in Oscars history. If the rumors are true, ABC, which will broadcast the 2023 Academy Awards, is considering putting Rock back on stage as the host. It’s just a rumor, and it reeks of desperation.

Chris Rock stands backstage next to Oscar statuettes at the 2022 Academy Awards. Rock hosting the 2023 Oscars is a rumor that reeks of desperation.
Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars | Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

The 2022 Oscars showed improved ratings for ABC before Smith’s slap

The Academy Awards were a ratings success before the infamous Rock-Smith incident made headlines. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the 2022 Oscars were charting much better than 2021 for ABC.

Hosts Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes helped guide the 2022 show to a 60% improvement, according to Deadline. The rating increase was even more pronounced in the more desirable demographics, where the bump was more than 70%. The previous year didn’t have a host, but any improvement from a forgettable 2021 broadcast is a positive.

Despite that, Smith slapping Rock will always define the 2022 Academy Awards. And in what reeks of a desperate move for the 2023 Oscars, ABC reportedly has Rock in the running to host the show.

RELATED: Chris Rock vs. Will Smith: Why Rock Is Winning in the Aftermath of 2022 Oscars Slap 

The rumor of Chris Rock hosting the 2023 Academy Awards reeks of desperation

ABC President of Entertainment Craig Erwich told Deadline the 2022 Oscars were “really successful” and called Smith’s Oscars slap an “unfortunate moment.” He also told the publication he’s open to having Rock host in 2023, which reeks of desperation.

The immediate perception is that Erwich, ABC, and the Academy are trying to keep the Academy Awards in the news cycle until 2023. That’s part of Erwich’s job, but most movie fans aren’t thinking about the 2023 awards season amid the 2022 summer blockbusters hitting theaters.

And as ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante noted (via YouTube), Rock wasn’t thrilled with how the powers that be handled the slap. It might take a major payday to get Rock back on the stage, but hosting doesn’t come with a massive paycheck. The salary for Oscars hosts typically ranges from between $15,000 and $25,000. It’s already a desperate move, and it’s one that might cost the Academy in 2023 (a huge Rock paycheck) and beyond (paying hosts more after setting a precedent with the comedian).

Also, we saw what happened when Rock went off script for 20 seconds. Would ABC, show producers, or the Academy really trust him to handle three hours worth of hosting? 

Rock has hosted the Oscars before, but that was before 2022. The slap would be a giant elephant in the room. Extending an olive branch to Rock and having him host as a way to sort of spit out the bad taste sounds nice, but it would distract from the show almost as much as Smith slapping Rock did. 

On all fronts, the rumor of Rock hosting the 2023 Oscars is desperate and borderline disingenuous.

RELATED: Chris Rock Is Just Milking the Will Smith Oscars Slap Now

Three candidates to host the 2023 Academy Awards

Rock hosting the 2023 Oscars reeks of desperation, and it seems unlikely to happen. Most of the best Academy Awards hosts in history are past their prime, but one makes our shortlist of qualified candidates:

  1. Ellen DeGeneres: Her selfie with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, and others was a viral moment long before Smith hit Rock. Her hosting experience would allow her to handle the job effortlessly. It’s a safe choice, but one that would almost guarantee a well-run, scandal-free show.
  2. James Corden: Perhaps an outside-of-the-box choice, but Corden has hosting experience (2017 and 2018 Grammys; 2016 and 2019 Tonys, four-time Emmys presenter, per IMDb). He also seems very comfortable around celebrities, as indicated by his years hosting The Late, Late Show.
  3. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: The former Saturday Night Live stars hosted the Golden Globes from 2013 to 2015 and again in 2021. They’re a bit removed from hosting major award shows, but their quick wit and interplay could be a boon for the 2023 Oscars.

The TL;DR of it all: The Oscars got back on track ratings-wise in 2022. Chris Rock hosting in 2023 is just a rumor, but it reeks of desperation. Bring back Ellen, or give some accomplished awards show hosts who don’t have Academy Awards experience their shot.

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RELATED: Chris Rock Calls out Will Smith, and It Has Nothing to Do With the Oscars Slap

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Chris Rock Hosting the 2023 Oscars Is a Rumor That Reeks of Desperation
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