Whether or not Casey Affleck‘s performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea‘ was worthy of an Oscar (and look, I haven’t seen it, but it probably was), there’s no doubt it was controversial in the extreme when he won Best Actor at yesterday’s Academy Awards.

Shortly after he was nominated, Constance Wu spoke out against the Academy for honouring a man who’d had to settle out of court with two women alleging sexually harassment during the making of ‘I’m Still Here‘. One of the women alleged she’d woken up in the middle of her night with him “caressing her back”, with no idea how he’d gotten there.

He vehemently denied the allegations, and a statement by his spokesperson said: “The disputes have been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and the lawsuits are being dismissed.”

But when he won yesterday, it was seen by many as another step in normalising sexual violence.


Brie Larson
, who became an advocate for sexual assault survivors after her Oscar-winning appearance in ‘Room‘, is being praised for her decision not to clap for Affleck after she presented him with the Oscar.

And this was her face when reading that Affleck had won:

So yeah. People were not happy about Affleck’s win, and the fact that Larson was forced to present him with the trophy was just salt in the wound.

And then when that now infamous Best Picture kerfuffle happened, B.J. Novak made this extremely good point:

It was pointed out that this isn’t even the first time this awards season Larson was forced to present Affleck with an award. The same thing happened at last month’s Golden Globes when he (again) won Best Actor.

During that ceremony, she also refused to hug him after presenting him with the award. 

Now compare that to last year’s Oscars, when Lady Gaga sang ‘Til It Happens To You‘, her song about sexual assault, and was joined on stage by other survivors.

Larson hugged every single one of them as they came off stage.

But if it’s any small comfort, look at this iconic picture of, L-R, Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, Best Actress Emma Stone, Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis…. and Best Actor Casey Affleck.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Larson refused to hug hum at the 89th Academy Awards; that was actually at last month’s Golden Globes, and has been amended.

Photo: Image Group LA / Getty.