If looks could kill, this year’s Oscars could have been punctuated with an on-stage fatality.
Though no one with any sense would have put any serious money on Casey Affleck to win the Best Actor statue over Denzel Washington – or vice versa, it was always going to be pretty close – could Denzel have thought it was in the bag?
After being announced as the winner for his performance in the drama ‘Manchester By The Sea’, Affleck immediately thanked Denzel for being ‘one of the first people who taught me how to act’.
Not literally, of course, but more in terms of inspiration, Affleck then adding: “And I just met him tonight for the first time, thank you.”
But when the camera landed on the ‘Fences’ star, Washington’s mien did not scream ‘magnanimous in defeat’.
Rather, he looked either absolutely furious, or close to tears, having been bested for the gong, but it was clearly an emotional time for him.
Washington already has two Oscars back at home, one for Best Supporting Actor for war drama ‘Glory’ in 1989, and Best Actor for ‘Training Day’ in 2001.
But it was likely that ‘Fences’, which he also directed, was a performance he hoped to have recognised, particularly as it was passed over for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (though his hugely deserving co-star Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress).
These tweets sum things up rather well…
Casey Affleck: "I learned how to act from you and I really admire your work"
— Jasmajesty ???? (@POPmypoptart) February 27, 2017
— roby (@iamthatroby) February 27, 2017
Affleck’s win came with its own controversy, with many commentators musing whether the younger brother of Ben Affleck would win over Washington, Andrew Garfield for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, Ryan Gosling for ‘La La Land’ or Viggo Mortensen for ‘Captain Fantastic’.
Despite a celebrated performance in Kenneth Lonergan’s movie, he’s been dogged by the resurgence of a legal case for sexual harassment in 2010, in which ugly claims were made about his conduct by cinematographer Magdalena Gorka and producer Amanda White, with whom he worked on his divisive mockumentary movie ‘I’m Still Here’.
Never known to hold back, Twitter users were quick to hammer the Academy for rewarding Affleck.
Last year Brie Larson stood and hugged every sexual assault survivor who was on stage with Gaga and now she has to hug Casey Affleck. ????????????????
— stefanie o (@captainstefanie) February 27, 2017
I really want Brie Larson to write about having to give Casey Affleck all the awards after winning for her portrayal of a rape survivor
— Erika W. Smith (@erikawynn) February 27, 2017
Casey Affleck is avoiding eye contact with every woman in the room. #Oscars
— ClickHole (@ClickHole) February 27, 2017
v cool that casey affleck won. v cool that men can do whatever they want and still get a pat on the back.
— Gráinne (@wholegrainne) February 27, 2017