Comedian Chris Rock has joked that he is only hosting this year’s Academy Awards because Ellen DeGeneres turned it down.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter conducted in December of last year, Rock joked that he probably wasn’t the first choice to host the Academy Awards ceremony.
“I am only here because Ellen didn’t want to do the show. I am only here because Ellen said no, and I am sure she said no, like, eight times. She did so good the last time she hosted the show. That’s kind of the standard,” Rock said.
DeGeneres was hailed for her performance as Oscars emcee in 2014, especially for the way she worked interactive bits into the show.
She memorably posed for a selfie with stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Channing Tatum, and more. Her tweet of the photo was shared more than 3.3 million times.
“I don’t do what she does, but I can admire it. I guess I can take a selfie,” Rock said.
The interview was conducted before this year’s Oscar nominations were announced, so Rock did not make any direct comment on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
Rock has not commented on the diversity issue at length, but did call the Oscars ceremony the “white BET Awards” in a tweeted posted after the nominations were announced.