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‘Whiplash’ star J.K. Simmons to host ‘SNL’

J.K. Simmons, the veteran character actor who is the presumed frontrunner to win the Oscar for best supporting actor on Feb. 22, has been tapped to make his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut. The actor, who has been Academy Award-nominated for his gripping and extremely edgy performance as the often-cruel jazz teacher in “Whiplash,” will tackle the SNL hosting duties on Saturday night, Jan. 31 — just a mere two weeks prior to the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood.

D’Angelo will be the musical guest that evening — also making his debut on SNL with his band, The Vanguard.

The timing of Simmons’ SNL gig could have an impact on his chances to take home a gold statuette this year. Final voting for Oscars begins a few days after his “Saturday Night Live” appearance — on Friday morning, Feb. 6. The polling closes at 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) on the Tuesday before the Oscars show.

Among the honors Simmons has already won for his performance are Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Chicago Film Critics awards.