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Chris Rock will still host Oscars, rewrites show

Producers say Rock will be addressing the issue of the awards being ‘so white’ in a new monologue.

Chris Rock. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for EDITION/AFP.
Oscars,Oscars 2016,Boycott Oscars,Chris Rock
Entertainment World Lifestyle

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - The Oscars show will go on with actor Chris Rock as the host.

The comedian has been pressured by some to step down from hosting the ceremony next month, in protest over the lack of diversity among nominees.

Producers of the Oscars say Rock will still be emceeing Hollywood’s biggest night, but he will be addressing the issue of the awards being ‘so white’ in a new monologue.

The show’s producer Reginald Hudlin said on Saturday, telling Entertainment Tonight at an NAACP Image Awards luncheon the comedian has scrapped his material.

“As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, 'I'm throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show,” Hudlin told ET.

“You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite jokes],” Hudlin said, adding “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that.”

According to ET, Rock and his writing staff have been rewriting the show which was finished a week ago, to address the controversy around the awards.      

The academy on Friday announced an overhaul of its membership policy.

OSCARS LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN

The Oscars have launched a landmark campaign to diversify the ranks of Academy Award voters who decide which actors, movies and filmmakers earn recognition, but Hollywood's highest honours may remain a predominantly white affair for some time to come.

Amid an outcry against a field of Oscar-nominated performers lacking a single person of colour for a second straight year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a sweeping affirmative action programme on Friday, pledging to double female and minority membership by 2020.

The largely white, male and older makeup of the 6,000-plus film industry professionals who belong to the academy has long been cited as a barrier to racial and gender equality at the Oscars.

The changes, unanimously approved on Thursday night by the academy's governing board, include a programme to “identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity,” and to strip some older members of voting privileges.

Under the new rules, lifetime voting rights would be conferred only on those academy members who remain active in the film industry over the course of three 10-year terms or who have won or been nominated for an Oscar.

Actor Will Smith, director Spike Lee and a handful of others vow to skip the 28 February awards. They gave no indication that they plan to call off their Oscar boycott.

Warner Bros, a major Hollywood studio, issued a statement within hours embracing the Oscar announcement, and Kevin Tsujihara, chairman of the Time Warner Inc-owned studio, added, “There is more we must and will do.”

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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