The Academy Awards is just under four months away and I think we should all prepare for the Oscars 2018 ceremony to be the most awkward affair in its 90-year history.
More awkward than 2017 when Warren Beatty read out ‘La La Land’ as the winner of Best Film, when really it was ‘Moonlight’. Even worse than the year before that, when the nominations for all eight acting categories were completely whitewashed. And definitely more cringeworthy than the entirety of the 2011 ceremony hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
That’s because the s*** has hit the fan in Hollywood with the continuing allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and predatory behaviour by key industry figures, and no amount of glitz or glamour can make that turd shine in time for the Oscars 2018 ceremony.
Harvey Weinstein was the just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the outing of sexual predators in the film industry, and while the Academy of Motion Pictures And Sciences voted to expel him from their ranks there are still plenty of accused abusers still among its members – even presenting awards.
Last year, Casey Affleck won the Best Actor for his performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. This is after he had settled two cases of sexual harassment with two women he had worked with during the production of ‘I’m Still Here’, starring Joaquin Phoenix. You might remember the restrained presentation of his Oscar by Brie Larson, who has been a vocal support of sexual abuse victims, and her refusal to clap his win. This year, the accused sexual harasser will be presenting the Best Actress Oscar, as is the custom for the previous year’s Best Actor to do and vice versa. I’m cringing at the thought.
What other accused sexual predators and abusers will be in attendance? So far the likes of Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Brett Ratner, and Bryan Singer have had multiple allegations of sexual misconduct directed at them but there’s still four months before the awards so we can no doubt expect to see more famous names added to that list.
Will they still be going? And what about accused domestic abusers like Mel Gibson or Johnny Depp; are victims of sexual assault, abuse and battery be expected to share the same red carpet, the same auditorium as these people? I can imagine that seating chart will be a nightmare to organise once the invites go out and RSVPs come in.
We can expect that awkwardness to be doubled if certain movies make the nominations too. Critics are raving about Kate Winslet’s performance in ‘Wonder Wheel’ and already speculating she might be up for an Oscar nod, but the movie was directed by Woody Allen. It was awkward enough in 2014 when his movie ‘Blue Jasmine’ was nominated for three Oscars, despite the fact that both Dylan Farrow – the child he is accused of molesting – and her brother Ronan Farrow had written pieces reiterating the accusations at their estranged father. Can you imagine the awkwardness in the audience if Allen’s latest film gets any nominations at next year’s Oscars? I can, and the boos if his name or the movie is read out. The same goes for Kevin Spacey’s new movie ‘All the Money in the World’.
Sony was planning on mounting a massive Oscars campaign for the period drama – based on the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III – with hopes of Spacey getting a nod for his role as the kidnapped teen’s grandfather, the late billionaire oil tycoon John Paul Getty. Now they are pulling back any sort of promotion for the film, even pulling it from the LA Film Festival.
A studio spokesperson said in a statement, “Given the current allegations surrounding one of its actors and out of respect for those impacted, it would be inappropriate to celebrate at a gala at this difficult time,” but that doesn’t mean they won’t push for the film to get some Oscar recognition. According to Variety, Sony is reportedly trying to tailor a campaign around co-stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg instead which means the movie, and Spacey’s presence, may still be felt at the ceremony. What if it’s nominated for a Best Film Oscar? They’ll have to play clips and Getty senior is a central part of the movie. I’m already wincing at the thought of seeing Spacey’s face on the big screen, even with layers of prosthetics on.
Dustin Hoffman is thought to be another Oscars contender for his supporting role in Noah Baumbach’s ‘The Meyerowtiz Stories (New And Selected)’, but two women have just come forward with allegations of sexual harassment in 1985 and 1991. People won’t be able to move for accused sexual harassers, abusers and predators at the Oscars 2018 ceremony if the allegations keep coming through at this rate and with so much of the host’s jokes related to the hot Hollywood topics, how will Jimmy Kimmel handle the conversation?
In 2016 when Chris Rock hosted the Academy Awards during the #OscarsSoWhite debacle, he made numerous jokes and references to the lack of diversity and representation at the awards and in Hollywood. Jimmy will have a serious job on his hands to make jokes about sexual harassment and abuse without causing offence to both the audience members in the Kodak Theater and at home watching. Just look what happened to James Corden when he failed to find the right humour about the Weinstein scandal at a recent awards show. He was pecked apart on social media.
While jokes about sexual misconduct have managed to get through in the past, this year people, especially women, won’t be playing ball, and when that camera pans to their faces for reactions I reckon there will be a lot of deadpan stares looking back.
Right now, the 90th Academy Awards looks set to be the most awkward ceremony ever, but it really doesn’t have to be. We can hope that films, filmmakers and stars who aren’t involved in these sexual scandals get the promotion and recognition they deserve. That the presenters picked to give out awards won’t have a history of sexual misconduct or domestic abuser linked to their name. That Jimmy Kimmel makes every effort to ensure that his jokes don’t attack victims or make light of rape culture.
Hollywood is going through a dark moment right now, but that shouldn’t put a dampener on the brilliant contributions the industry has been making to cinematic history. We should be able to celebrate the excellent films and performances of the last year, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore and overlook the gross misconduct of certain individuals. That should never be an option, awkward ceremony or not.
The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will take place on March 4, 2018