UPDATE: Armie Hammer later issued an apology to Casey Affleck for comments he made during this Hollywood Reporter interview.
Armie Hammer is always candid. Or as he put it to The Hollywood Reporter, "I always open my mouth too much, but f*ck it." He's currently earning 2018 Oscars buzz for "Call Me by Your Name," but talk about the Oscars sent the conversation down a dark road. Hammer was invited to join the Academy this year, he thinks it's "largely because of the way the 'Birth of a Nation' thing was handled."
"Birth of a Nation" had a strong showing at Sundance, but right as 2017 Oscars season kicked off, a 1999 rape allegation against director/writer/producer/star Nate Parker resurfaced. Hammer costarred in "Birth of a Nation" as Samuel Turner, and he told THR the timing of the headlines "was orchestrated for sure."
On that note, he added:
"There was another person in the industry, who had a competing film for the Academy Awards, who decided to release all of the phone records and information. I've been told who did it — by several people."
Interesting... Hammer said the way Nate Parker was treated -- and sent to "directors jail" -- showed a double standard when compared to Casey Affleck, who was accused of sexual misconduct and still ultimately won the Oscar.
"Nate had the stuff in his past, which is heinous and tough to get beyond. I get that. But that was when he was 18, and now he's in directors jail. At the same time, the guy who went and won an Academy Award has three cases of sexual assault against him."
Here's more of the Hollywood Reporter piece, including some clarification on their end as to Affleck's actual charges vs. Parker's charges:
"I ask if he is referring to Casey Affleck, who was sued in 2010 for sexual harassment by two female crewmembers on the set of I'm Still Here and who won the 2016 best actor Oscar for Manchester by the Sea. 'Yeah,' he says. (Affleck, in fact, had two civil suits filed against him, both of which were settled out of court and dismissed.) 'And [Parker] had one incident — which was heinous and atrocious — but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way. And the other guy won the highest award you can get as an actor. It just doesn't make sense.'
I point out the details of the Parker trial — a claim of gang rape on a heavily intoxicated woman, followed by his accuser's suicide — are much graver than what Affleck was accused of, which involved a pattern of demeaning and lewd language and, in one instance, drunkenly climbing into bed with a woman without her consent. 'Look," says Hammer. 'I'm not saying Nate should not have been in trouble. I'm saying that they got in different levels of trouble. And that's the disparity. It's like there are two standards for how to deal with someone who has this kind of issue in their past, you know?'"
But the 2017 Oscars was a mess across the board, and Hammer admitted he "laughed so hard" and "literally stood up off my couch and applauded — in a schadenfreude way" over the "La La Land"/"Moonlight" snafu. There's almost no way 2018 can match 2017's level of drama ... but it can try.
The 90th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on ABC Sunday, March 4, 2018.
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