So remember how we said that Casey Affleck wouldn’t dare to show his face this Oscar season, even though it’s tradition for the previous year’s winner to present the accolade to the new Best Actress? It was hardly the shock of the year to hear that we were right on that front. But it’s nice to see it confirmed.
Deadline reported that Affleck had informed the Academy he did not want to be a distraction to this year’s event, and so will not appear on the big night. The Deadline piece feels very revealing to me. It’s an exclusive to the site, one that’s been very sympathetic to big names (look at the Michael Douglas stuff recently). The copy is hugely pro-Affleck in tone, emphasizing how he ‘was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #metoo movement’.
Even amidst all this news, Deadline are keen to focus on how Affleck, ‘long considered an underrated actor with strong performances in everything from Gone Baby Gone to Out of the Furnace and Good Will Hunting, turned in a career performance’ in Manchester by the Sea. It then makes a strangely discomfiting tone, feeling almost accusatory as it laments how ‘attention right now isn’t on that accomplishment as much as the outcry over a settlement and non disclosure agreements that followed allegations of inappropriate behavior toward two women.’
If I were a betting woman, I’d say this piece was sent to Deadline directly from Affleck’s team. It strains to emphasize how gracious it is for an accused sexual harasser to want the focus to remain on the nominated women. I hardly expect it to admit how self-serving this entire exercise is, but Affleck did spend the past two years mounting the kind of PR and awards campaigning operation that would have made the Golden Age studio fixers blush. He and his very well-maintained and pricey team know what they’re doing, and that requires a willing ecosystem to keep it flourishing. This man is no fool, and he’ll never truly go away.