A Ghost Story: Casey Affleck Withdraws From Presenting Best Actress at the Oscars
Everyone (including myself) has made some version of the joke — imagining the hypothetical moment when Casey Affleck, last year’s Best Actor winner, presents this year’s Best Actress with the Oscar. And wouldn’t it be kind of amazing if the Best Actress prize went to Frances McDormand for playing the aggrieved, rage-fueled (yet compassionate!) mother of a teen girl who was raped and murdered? And it wouldn’t it be even more amazing to witness a sure-to-be GIF-able interaction between Franny McD, an actress renowned for not putting up with any of your s—t, and Affleck, a man who was accused of sexual misconduct by two former colleagues?
Unfortunately, we will never get to see what happens when Casey Affleck is confronted by this year’s Best Actress winner, whomever she may be. According to Deadline, Affleck has withdrawn from presenting Best Actress at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, set to take place on March 4. It’s customary for the previous year’s Best Actor winner to present the current year’s Best Actress category and award, but Affleck reportedly “did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category and that is why he made the proactive move.”
McDormand is not only the most likely candidate to win this year’s prize (for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), but she also seems to be the most likely of the bunch who would have something to say (…or set on fire?) when confronted with Affleck. Still, it’s hard to imagine that any of this year’s Best Actress nominees wouldn’t offer some sort of averse reaction to Affleck. Just last year, when Brie Larson presented Affleck with the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea, her refusal to clap (and the accompanying look on her face) became instantly legendary.
Affleck’s past sexual misconduct and subsequent (sealed) settlement with his two accusers resurfaced in the lead up to last year’s Academy Awards. Some felt as though it was unfair to criticize The Birth of a Nation director Nate Parker for allegedly raping a woman in college without addressing Affleck’s own troubled past — though the latter was not assault, some critics felt it was still worth considering.
In the throes of the #MeToo movement and following a tidal wave of sexual misconduct and assault allegations that have justifiably rocked Hollywood (and touched almost every corner of the country), having Affleck present the Best Actress Oscar probably isn’t the brightest idea. By taking himself out of the equation, Affleck keeps the focus where it needs to be during this powerful moment in history…and also probably avoids getting kicked in the nards by Frances McDormand.