Oscars Producer Says Chris Rock Is Rewriting Opening Monologue Amid Diversity Controversy

Reginald Hudlin said viewers should expect Oscars diversity jokes from Rock.

January 24, 2016, 11:35 AM

— -- An Oscars producer said host Chris Rock completed his opening monologue for the awards show a week ago, but now he's scrapped it and is re-writing it after the controversy surrounding this year's show.

Many stars have spoken out about the lack of diversity in Oscar nominees for the second year in a row, slamming the Academy for being too homogeneous. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith said they would not attend this year's show, as did director Spike Lee.

Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin told Entertainment Tonight: "Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room. As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, 'I'm throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.'

"Chris is that thorough," Hudlin continued. "He's that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks."

Hudlin said that Rock, 50, won't shy away from the controversy during the 88th Academy Awards, set to take place Feb. 28.

"You should expect [Oscars diversity jokes]," Hudlin revealed. "And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They're excited about him doing that. They know that's what we need. They know that's what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want."

Many are excited to see what Rock comes up with, especially actor, Don Cheadle, who won an Oscar in 2005 as a producer for the film, "Crash." He was also nominated for Best Actor in 2004 thanks to his role in "Hotel Rwanda."

"This should be a career-defining moment for Chris Rock," Cheadle, 51, told People magazine. "I mean, there is no one better poised, in my opinion, or equipped to go in on this s***."

"And I hope when he does, he skewers everybody -- the people who are complaining about it, the people who were passed up, the people that weren't passed up, the whole idea of being passed up for this award and what it means, racism, the lack of diversity, all of it," he added.

Rock has already cracked a joke about the Oscars' diversity issue. He tweeted earlier this month, "The #Oscars. The White BET Awards."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences responded to the controversy Friday, announcing an overhaul of its membership policy. The organization's board voted unanimously to make the voting members "significantly" more diverse, with the goal to double the number of women and diverse members by 2020.

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