Chris Rock says he won't host the Oscars again, suggests replacement for Kevin Hart

Patrick Ryan

NEW YORK – No one wants to host the Oscars this year. 

Presenting at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner Monday night, two-time host Chris Rock dashed any hopes that he might return to emcee Hollywood's biggest night, amid Kevin Hart's contentious exit from the post last month following recently unearthed homophobic comments.

Spotting three-time host Steve Martin in the crowd at Manhattan's Tao Downtown restaurant, Rock exclaimed, "Steve Martin, you should host the Oscars! You were the best. I'm not doing that, (expletive)! You're not getting me." 

Rock's remark came hours after Hart doubled-down on his position that he won't host the Academy Awards show come Feb. 24, despite Ellen DeGeneres' insistence that he should. Hart appeared on her daytime talk show last week to address the controversy around his past tweets. In response, DeGeneres told "The Upside" actor that she personally phoned the Academy asking them to reinstate him. 

Chris Rock performing in Brooklyn last October. The stand-up says he won't return to host the Oscars for a third time next month.

But talking to friends on his SiriusXM show "Straight From the Hart" Monday, Hart said he won't host because "I don't have time to prepare and do it correctly."

So is there any chance Martin – who last co-hosted the Oscars with Alec Baldwin in 2010 – is game for the gig? The comedian didn't acknowledge Rock's suggestion when he took the stage shortly after to present an award to longtime pal Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?"). But judging by the uproarious reception to his speech, Martin is more than primed to host a fourth time. 

"Tonight is especially exciting for me," Martin began. "As a little kid, I used to get all dressed up and play New York Film Critics Circle Awards. The excitement of tonight reminds me of the birth of my child. The only difference is, I showed up for this."