While The Academy is being applauded for its inclusive and diverse list of nominees that were announced on Tuesday, several people have voiced stern disapproval at the inclusion of Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson.
Both Gibson, nominated in the Best Director category for Hacksaw Ridge and Affleck, nominated as Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea, have been controversial figures in Hollywood. Gibson’s nomination is more surprising in many ways, especially since he had very little buzz going into the Oscars to begin with, while Affleck has been scooping up most of the awards leading up.
For many years, the Oscar-winning director of Braveheart had become somewhat of a pariah in Hollywood. His anti-semetic rants and abusive behaviour made him persona non grata. After the release of his 2006 film Apocalypto, most of Gibson’s films did mediocre business at the box office. He wasn’t invited back for Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth installment of the franchise that made him a star in the ‘80s.
His nomination for Hacksaw Ridge comes on the back of next to no buzz and is seen as a rebuke to Martin Scorsese, who toiled hard for 28 years to get his passion project Silence made.
Hollywood loves to bash Donald Trump but they sure do love embracing scumbags like Mel Gibson and Casey Affleck #Oscars— Stephanie. (@qsteph) January 24, 2017
Casey Affleck & Mel Gibson just both got nominated for Oscars! Thanks for the reminder that the entertainment industry = the patriarchy. pic.twitter.com/Oqf6stiAR3— Grace Lee (@nycgrace) January 24, 2017
I continue to be disgusted by mainstream Hollywood's acceptance and praise of anti-semite, racist, woman-abuser #MelGibson.— Women Film Directors (@women_direct) January 24, 2017
Affleck’s controversy however, is more recent. In 2010, two women who worked in his mockumentary I’m Still Here alleged sexual harassment. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. But the story has plagued him throughout the Oscar season, especially since a similar case involving Nate Parker, the African American director and star of Birth of a Nation, virtually removed him from all contention.
In a series of tweets, actor Constance Wu protested Casey Affleck’s nomination, demanding, ‘art isn’t about humanity, right?’.
Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity,human integrity!Bc poor kid rly needs the help!— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) January 24, 2017
In a long message, the actor compared the possibility of Affleck winning the Golden Statue on February 26 to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections.
When Affleck was asked about the allegations last fall, he told Variety: “People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you respond.
“I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want. I don’t know why that is. But it shouldn’t be, because everybody has families and lives,” he said.
Gibson meanwhile had this to say about his first Oscar nomination in 20 years:
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