Former Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle is excited to see Chris Rock host this year’s Academy Awards, saying in a recent interview that he wants to see the comedian “take everybody to task” over the renewed #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin confirmed Saturday that Rock would remain on as host of the 88th annual awards ceremony, despite calls for him to step down in the wake of the Academy’s diversity controversy, which saw exclusively white actors nominated in all four top acting categories for a second consecutive year.
Hudlin revealed that Rock was re-writing his monologue to tackle the issue after several high-pr0file critics including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee and Michael Moore pledged to boycott the show this year.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter at the Sundance Film Festival this week, Cheadle said hosting this year’s Oscars could be a “career-defining moment” for Rock.
“On a world stage, with the import of this, the ridiculousness of this, the seriousness of this, there’s just so much fodder there that he could just skewer society,” Cheadle told THR‘s Matthew Belloni. “That’s what I want him to do, I want him to take everybody to task over this.”
When asked if he would present an award at this year’s show if the Academy asked, Cheadle said he “would — in a valet uniform.” The actor previously joked on Twitter that he’d be “parking cars on G level” during the event.
Cheadle earned a Best Actor nomination at the 2005 Academy Awards for his role in Hotel Rwanda.
Some critics had asked Rock to step down from his hosting duties after the controversy first broke.
“There is no joke that he can crack,” actor Tyrese Gibson said of Rock in a recent interview with People. “There is no way for him to seize the moment and come into this thing and say, ‘I’m going to say this and say that I’m going to address the issue but then I’m still going to keep my gig as the host.’ The statement that you make is that you step down.”
Others, like Cheadle, said they hoped Rock would stay and incorporate the controversy into the show while a global audience watches from home: “If he does [host], I hope he takes it as an opportunity to make a statement, a social statement about change,” said two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a dramatic overhaul of its voting rules and organizational structure on Friday in an effort to increase diversity among Oscar honorees. The organization hopes to double the number of minority and female members by 2020.
The 88th Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 28 on ABC.