Oscar host Chris Rock took to Twitter Thursday to post a cryptic message ahead of Sunday night’s ceremony.
“See you Sunday…,” the comedian wrote, alongside a 15-second video of television static, adding two hashtags: #blackout and #oscars.
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) February 26, 2016
Rock will take the stage at the Dolby Theatre Sunday night to host what is undoubtedly the most politically-charged Oscars ceremony in recent memory. With the renewed #OscarsSoWhite controversy hanging over the proceedings and stars like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee sitting out the show, the Hollywood community and viewers at home will be watching closely to see how the comedian tackles the subject of diversity in the entertainment industry.
Some in Hollywood have previously called for Rock to step down as Oscar host in solidarity with the #OscarsSoWhite movement, including actor-rapper Tyrese Gibson.
“There is no joke that he can crack,” Gibson told People magazine in a January interview. “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.”
Still others have said Rock is the perfect choice to host this year’s ceremony and fully expect the comedian to rip into Hollywood during his opening monologue Sunday night.
“If anybody’s [planning on] boycotting the Oscars, don’t, because Chris Rock is gonna annihilate every one of us [leaders of Hollywood studios/distribution companies] in the first 20 minutes of the show, and it will be well worth watching,” Weinstein Co. founder Harvey Weinstein told the Hollywood Reporter this week. “It will be an Oscars to remember.”
“He has got to host this show,” Steve Harvey added on his talk show this week. “I don’t know if you remember his stand-up routine, Bigger & Blacker. Well, Chris, I need you to be bigger and blacker. And I want you to be so black that you represent the 40 actors that ain’t coming that night.”
Rock has only commented sparingly about his upcoming hosting gig. Last month, the comedian appeared in a promo for the awards show, calling it the “white BET Awards,” while earlier this week, he shared a photo on Twitter in which he’s dressed as an astronaut in an apparent reference to The Martian, which is up for Best Picture this year.
Getting my outfit together pic.twitter.com/0W2D8v1Aeb
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) February 23, 2016
The 88th Academy Awards air Sunday, February 28 on ABC.