Affleck won for "Manchester by the Sea" -- and complimented Denzel right away, not that Denzel looked impressed -- but some film-lovers were upset that the Academy didn't care about Affleck's real-life controversy with sexual harassment allegations from the set of his movie "I'm Still Here."
Many viewers were thrilled for Affleck, but there was also a strong backlash, part from disappointment at Denzel/Gosling/Viggo/Andrew not winning, but also in reference to Affleck's past. A few fans decided that "Room" Oscar winner Brie Larson was making a statement when she didn't clap after announcing Affleck as Best Actor.
The Boston Globe asked their local boy about the allegations and the backlash. Here's how they reported it, and his response:
Asked about those sentiments Tuesday, Affleck paused and sighed heavily. He said both sides in the case are prohibited from commenting on the matter, and none of the people who are condemning him online know what happened.
But, he added, "I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else."
"There's really nothing I can do about it," Affleck added wearily. "Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time."
To be fair, Casey Affleck seems to speak "wearily" all the time, so it's hard to know how much emphasis he's giving any of this.
He made "I'm Still Here" with then brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix in 2010. Here's how the New York Times described the resulting allegations:
Along with the critical lambasting, there were two sexual harassment suits filed against Mr. Affleck by two women involved in the production. Magdalena Gorka, a cinematographer, said that Mr. Affleck had climbed into bed with her while she was sleeping and embraced her, and Amanda White, a producer, said that he had manhandled her after she resisted his unwanted advances. Mr. Affleck denied the claims; the cases were settled. Brian Procel, a lawyer who represented both women, said by email that neither woman would comment.
Asked whether he felt responsibility for what happened, Mr. Affleck replied, by email, that he did not. "It was settled to the satisfaction of all. I was hurt and upset — I am sure all were — but I am over it," he wrote. "It was an unfortunate situation — mostly for the innocent bystanders of the families of those involved."
When the 2017 Oscar nominations were first revealed, "Fresh Off the Boat" actress Constance Wu lashed out at Affleck's nod, saying his inevitable win would be a nod to President Trump's recent win after his harassment allegations and "locker room talk."
It's hard to know how Academy members vote -- apart from the Brutally Honest Ballots shared with the Hollywood Reporter -- but they tend to separate private life from the work. Mel Gibson was also nominated this year, in a big "comeback" after making many defamatory comments over the years, including in 2010 when he was recorded on voicemail telling his ex/baby mama Oksana Grigorieva, "You look like a f*cking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n*ggers, it will be your fault." And Roman Polanski won Best Director for "The Pianist" in 2003 even though he can't even step foot in the United States because he fled after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
At least with Affleck the allegations were left at allegations that were settled, so there's no chance of him being proven guilty. However, there's also no chance of him being completely exonerated. Not that either result would likely change how anyone voted.
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