Affleck picked up the Best Actor award on the night
The organisers of the Oscars have been criticised for awarding Casey Affleck the Best Actor prize amid backlash over historic sexual harassment claims, as well as honouring Mel Gibson’s ‘comeback’ following years of industry alienation.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) last night awarded Affleck the 2017 Best Actor award for his lead role in Manchester By The Sea. He beat the likes of Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington to pick up the prize.
In 2010, Affleck was sued by producer Amanda White and cinematographer, Magdalena Gorka, both of whom worked with him on Joaquin Phoenix mockumentary I’m Still Here. White accused Affleck of numerous “uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances”, as well as grabbing her “violently”, among other allegations. Gorka alleged that she endured “routine instances” of sexual harassment and that Affleck got into her bed while she slept at Phoenix’s house and that his “breath reeked of alcohol”.
Affleck has denied the allegations and settled both lawsuits out of court. He told The New York Times last November: “It was settled to the satisfaction of all. I was hurt and upset — I am sure all were — but I am over it. It was an unfortunate situation — mostly for the innocent bystanders of the families of those involved.”
Many viewers took to Twitter to express their anger at Affleck winning Best Actor. One user wrote: “Trump was elected, and Casey Affleck just won an Oscar. We’ve officially normalized sexual assault as a society”. It was also pointed out how Brie Larson, who won an Oscar in 2016 for her portrayal of an abuse survivor in Room, appeared to refuse to applaud Affleck. See below.
Anger was also directed at the nominations for Mel Gibson and his film Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson was nominated for Best Director but lost out to La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle. Hacksaw Ridge won two awards on the night, for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.
The controversy relates to historic allegations of antisemitism and racism aimed at Gibson.