Surprising no one, Casey Affleck has just won the Oscar for Best Actor for his lead role in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea. He takes home the award after besting the likes of Denzel Washington and Ryan Gosling for their performances in Fences and La La Land, respectively.
Affleck’s win tonight was almost assured after taking home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama at last month’s Golden Globes. Indeed, his performance in Manchester has already been called one of the top performances of the year. In the film, he plays Lee Chandler, a handyman who must return to the titular small town after the death of his brother to care for his teenage nephew. The film’s tragic beauty won over critics early on, and Affleck playing Lee so effectively was a big part of it.
However, Affleck’s win tonight is marred by the sexual harassment scandal that has followed him through awards season. Multiple lawsuits have alleged that the actor was sexually and emotionally abusive during the production of his 2010 documentary I’m Still Here, with Affleck, among other things, telling a cinematographer that she should have sex with the production crew. Those suits were settled out of court.
Critics were quick to respond to Affleck’s nomination after it was announced last month. Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu tweeted at length about the optics of the nomination:
Evidently, the scandal wasn’t enough for Oscar voters to give the award to someone else.