During the Oscars, we were disappointed — but not surprised — when Casey Affleck was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor. Affleck has a history of sexual harassment and assault allegations, and it’s been disappointing to see the film industry celebrate him — as well as Best Director nominee and accused domestic abuser Mel Gibson — despite this.
Many people, including us, have paid close attention to the way that Brie Larson has interacted with Casey Affleck during this past awards season. Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress last year for her performance in Room, where she played a survivor of many years of sexual abuse; she also played a sexual abuse survivor in the critically acclaimed 2013 film Short Term 12. She has also been outspoken about feminist issues on social media; in the past week, she’s posted about International Women’s Day; a Frida Kahlo museum exhibit; and her interview with Jane Fonda in which the pair talked about feminism, sexism in Hollywood, self-care, and in which Fonda revealed that she’s a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
Last year, Larson swept the Best Actress awards at many different awards shows; and most shows have the previous year’s winner of the opposite gender present the current year’s award (so the Best Actress winner presents the Best Actor award, and vice versa). Larson had to present the Best Actor award at this year’s Golden Globes (which Affleck won), SAG awards (which Denzel Washington won), and, most recently, the Oscars. Social media users noticed how, each time, she handed Affleck the award as quickly as she could, without hugging him or shaking his hand, and did not clap.
Now, Larson has responded to questions about her actions at the Oscars in two different interviews.
During a recent interview on Live With Kelly, she was asked about not clapping for Affleck and said, ‘I am grateful it was televised because I have no memory of it.’
In another interview with Vanity Fair, she said, “I think that whatever it was that I did on stage kind of spoke for itself. I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”
Although Larson hasn’t explicitly condemned Affleck’s actions, she still made a powerful statement in the way she acted onstage at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
Celebrities have been reluctant to explicitly speak out against Casey Affleck — completely understandable, considering how well-connected he is — except for Constance Wu, who powerfully condemned Affleck when the Oscar nominations were announced. She tweeted:
“Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity, human integrity! Bc poor kid rly needs the help!
“Boys! BUY ur way out of trouble by settling out of court! Just do a good acting job, that’s all that matters! bc Art isn’t about humanity, right?”
She then shared a longer statement with the caption, “Here’s a thing I wrote during a convo w/ [actor] @PeterShinkoda about how Casey Affleck’s win will be a nod to Trump’s.”
The statement read:
“Right, he’s not running for Prez. He’s running for an award that honors a craft whose purpose is examining the dignity of the human experience & young women are deeply human. The absence of awards doesn’t diminish a great performance… But the choices an awards committee makes DOES increase the dignity of an award and brings light to the pursuit our craft seeks to honor… I know it’s just an award but I guess I’m in this career, not for awards, but because the treatment of human life matters to me. So I stand the f*ck up for it.’
Wu finished with: “I’ve been counseled not to talk about this for career’s sake. F my career then, I’m a woman & human first. That’s what my craft is built on.”
Top photo: Room
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