Casey Affleck will not be presenting the best-actress prize at this year’s Academy Awards, according to Deadline. It has become an Oscar tradition for the best-actor winner from the previous year to present the best-actress winner the following year, and vice versa. But with the rise of the #MeToo movement and the Time‘s Up initiative, many wondered if Affleck—who was accused of sexual harassment by two women in lawsuits that were settled in 2010—would appear at this year’s ceremony. Now, a firm decision has been made, with Affleck himself opting out of the Oscars in order to avoid controversy, per Deadline.
Last year, Affleck was an awards-season front-runner thanks to his performance in Manchester by the Sea—but his season campaign was continually dogged by those sexual harassment claims. Affleck went on to win a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his performance, but his reputation did not emerge completely unscathed. During last year’s Oscars ceremony, 2016 Oscar winner Brie Larson presented him with his award—but she refused to clap when Affleck won, a subtle choice that was viewed as disapproval of the Academy’s decision to fete Affleck. In a later interview with Vanity Fair, Larson was diplomatic, but firm about her choice. “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she said. “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”
Over the last few months, Hollywood has undergone a severe, but much needed reckoning, with actresses stepping up to support the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative, which offers legal support to victims of sexual harassment across various industries. Men who have allegedly abused their power have become pariahs in the industry, with studios and networks rushing to rid themselves of problematic collaborators. The effects have already been felt throughout this awards season: at the Golden Globes, most attendees wore black, while high-profile stars like Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams brought activists like Ai-jen Poo and Tarana Burke as their dates to the event. Men like James Franco, who has been accused of sexually inappropriate and exploitative behavior (which he denies, via his lawyer Michael Plonsker), are also feeling the ripple effect of this newly political season. Were Affleck to present at this year’s Academy Awards, it undoubtedly would have been a terrible distraction.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:Saoirse Ronan’s 2017-2018 Awards-Season StyleYohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.