Wanda Sykes Won’t Host Oscars Again Because Of Will Smith

Well no more Wanda.

By Mark McKee | Published

wanda sykes

The 94th Academy Awards saw Will Smith win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. Jessica Chastain took home the statue for Best Actress for melting the screen in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. And Sian Heder’s CODA and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune cleaned up the rest of the categories. But you will be forgiven if you don’t remember any of these awards. The 94th Academy Awards was marred by controversy and mostly remembered for the slap heard round the world. Wanda Sykes, Regina King, and Amy Schumer were the show’s co-hosts. Will Smith, however, was the only stage presence leaving a lasting impression. In the most shocking moment in recent Awards show memory, he walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock. Now, one of the hosts believes she will never return to hosting duties because of it. 

In a recent Live with Kelly and Ryan interview, Wanda Sykes talked about the infamous Will Smith moment. She called the moment bizarre and was surprised that Smith was still allowed to be in the audience. When asked by Seacrest if she would ever do it again, she responded with “Hell no!” While it may have been a little satire, talking about the army of people needing to “clean her up,” it was clear that she was bothered by not just the moment but also the response. 

The moment itself still burns in the memories of those who were there and the millions who watched. When Chris Rock came on stage as a presenter, he began his collection of bits surrounding the night. Like any good professional comedian, he worked the crowd. That included Jada Pinkett Smith, who sported her signature short-cropped hair. Wanda Sykes watched backstage as Rock told Jada that he couldn’t wait to see GI Jane 2, a poke at her bald head. Will Smith appeared to laugh at first but quickly changed his tune as he walked on stage and wordlessly slapped Chris Rock across the face. He then calmly returned to his seat, yelling back to the comedian to keep his “wife’s name out of his f***** mouth.” 

In an interview following the incident, Wanda Sykes appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She told the host that she felt horrible for Rock and was ill and traumatized by it. She also went on to say that while Will Smith apologized to Chris Rock, she believed that she and the other hosts also deserved an apology. Wanda Sykes also stated that she felt it was gross and the wrong message that Will Smith was allowed to stay and enjoy the rest of the show, including receiving his award for Best Actor. However, the Academy responded that the Hollywood legend refused to leave after the slap. 

Will Smith seemed to be attempting to protect his wife, who has alopecia. And Jada Pinkett Smith has said that she hopes he and Chris Rock can reconcile. But one of the many ways the moment impacted the industry is that Will Smith has limited those that will be willing to host future events, including Wanda Sykes.