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There are a lot of reasons to feel very, very good about this morning's Oscar nominations (opens in new tab), which broke several records for diversity and recognized performers of color in every acting category. But the nominations of Mel Gibson for Best Director, and of Casey Affleck for Best Actor, left a bad taste in the mouths of many. These nominations are not just a validation of Gibson and Affleck—both of whom have checkered pasts, to say the least—but also indicate Hollywood's larger willingness to brush male misconduct (opens in new tab) under the rug in the name of "art."
Gibson has been a pariah for more than a decade, ever since he was caught on tape making a series of anti-semitic, misogynistic comments while under arrest for DUI in 2006. A domestic violence investigation was launched against the actor in 2010 following an abusive, racist tirade (opens in new tab) he left on his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva's voicemail. And that's just the tip of the Gibson iceberg. This morning, the Academy nominated him for Best Director and garnered his movie Hacksaw Ridge with an additional five nominations.
Meanwhile, Affleck was sued in 2010 by two former co-workers (opens in new tab) from ill-fated experimental mockumentary I'm Still Here, which he directed. The film's producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka filed separate lawsuits, each claiming that Affleck and other crew members had subjected them to a barrage of inappropriate sexual comments and unwanted advances. Both suits were settled out of court. This morning, the Academy nominated Affleck for Best Actor for his work as Manchester By The Sea's grief-stricken protagonist, a performance that already won him a Golden Globe earlier this month.
On the bright side, the internet made its outrage over Gibson and Affleck's nominations known with swift, delightful fervor.
Congratulations on your Oscar nom, Mel Gibson, you racist, misogynistic, antisemite pig fuck.January 24, 2017
Several commentators also noted the uncomfortable parallel between these nominations and the election of President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women (opens in new tab).
Hollywood loves to bash Donald Trump but they sure do love embracing scumbags like Mel Gibson and Casey Affleck #OscarsJanuary 24, 2017
2017: Truly a great year to be a white man.
Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.
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