Chris Rock says he's only hosting the 2016 Oscars because Ellen DeGeneres declined

Chris Rock returns to the Oscar stage for the second time on Sunday night (Feb. 28), sure to bring a barrage of hilarious jokes to his hosting gig - but the Down to Earth star says he wasn't the academy's first choice. Chris claims comedian Ellen DeGeneres turned down the job since hosting in 2014.

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"I'm only here because Ellen didn't want to do the show," Chris told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm only here because Ellen said no, and I'm sure she said no like eight times. She did so good the last time she hosted the show, that's kind of the standard."

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Chris Rock Oscars on ABC Network
Chris Rock joked that Ellen DeGeneres had turn down the gig "eight times"

The popular talk show host received praise for her role; the A-lister selfie that Ellen starred in alongside Bradley Cooper, Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts among others went viral within minutes.

When asked what kind of stunt he would pull, Chris joked: "I guess I can take a selfie. My mind's not made up, put it that way."

"I don't do what she does but I can admire it," he added.

Ellen's Oscar selfie with the stars
"I guess I can take a selfie," Chris joked of his tactic

Chris, who asked his agent to find him a presenting job because it's easy and funny, said of his tactic: "You can do a pretty decent monologue and be funny two or three other times throughout the show, you'll be fine. If you get off on the wrong foot though, it's a real hard hole to dig yourself out of."

"You probably say something more risqué at 10:30pm than you will at 8:30pm. But honestly right now I'm just concentrating on the movies, just keeping the show moving and understanding the pace of the show."

Chris Rock and wife with Caitlyn Jenner
The actor attending a pre-Grammys party earlier this month

Chris was announced as the host of this year's Oscars in October. The actor expressed his excitement on Twitter, writing "Look who's back. #Oscars" alongside a picture of himself.

He has since starred in a 15-second commercial for the awards ceremony, giving viewers a taste of what they can expect on the night.

"I'm Chris Rock and I'm hosting the Oscars," he said. "Much like New Year's Eve it will be a night that ends with a lot of drunk disappointed people swearing they'll do better next year."

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