Brie Larson Refrains From Clapping After Announcing Casey Affleck's Oscar Win
The Oscars was far from being business as usual on Sunday. The political overtones were more apparent than ever, and a last-minute snafu sent everything into a frenzy. Among the unexpected moments was Casey Affleck's win for Best Actor; Denzel Washington seemed to have a slight lead entering the Awards show, but Affleck pulled off the upset for his role in Manchester By The Sea.
There was another moment of note—one nestled inside the scene of Affleck's win. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that Brie Larson, who presented the award, and was standing off to the side during his speech, had refrained from applauding:
As noted at Buzzfeed, some viewers took it as a protest of Affleck's win. Affleck had been accused of sexual harassment during the filming of 2010's I'm Still Here, the bizarro film about Joaquin Phoenix's transition as a rap star. Two separate sexual harassment lawsuits would be filed against Affleck, who was directing the film.
Director of photography Magdalena Gorka said in her suit that, one night, Affleck had snuck into her bed wearing only his t-shirt and underwear, and that his breath smelled of alcohol. She said she'd left the project after the incident, came back under the encouragement of a producer (who is a woman), then left again after being subjected to lewd comments from Affleck. The aforementioned producer, Amanda White, filed the second complaint. White said that members of the crew had made unwanted advances towards her, and, at one point, Affleck told a crew member to remove his pants and show his penis to White. Both cases were settled for an undisclosed amount in 2010.
Larson's apparent displeasure with Affleck wasn't a surprise, as she is a vocal supporter of sexual assault survivors. In 2016, she won an Oscar for her portrayal of a rape survivor who was held captive in Room. As noted at the BBC, Larson had immersed herself in the role, imposing a month-long confinement on herself, and consulting with psychologists on the mindset of her character.
In that same Awards ceremony where she won her Oscar, Lady Gaga performed a rousing set that was joined by a group of sexual assault survivors—after the performance, Larson individually hugged each participant:
As if Affleck's Oscars acceptance wasn't already steeped in irony, it was actually the second time that Larson had presented him an award for Manchester By The Sea. The first instance came during the 2017 Golden Globes in January. Some viewers noted that, when Larson handed over the award, she'd refrained from embracing Affleck (she'd hug him at the Oscars, however):
Certainly, Larson wasn't the only one who had issues with Affleck's win. Viewers took to social media to declare their opposition to it, saying that Hollywood has a history of overlooking sexual assault within the industry:
Another point brought up was that Nate Parker (who directed The Birth of a Nation) tanked in the public eye after past rape allegations resurfaced around the release of the film. Affleck, on the other hand, seemed to get off fairly easily.
In January, Constance Wu of Fresh Off The Boat took to Twitter to denounce Affleck's nomination. She said that it wasn't just a matter of overlooking sexual harassment, but also projecting the message to children that this behavior could be permissible:
Here's the full video of the announcement of Affleck's Oscar win.