Who gets to survive the #MeToo era?
Certainly not James Franco, who was snubbed Tuesday morning in the Oscars’ Best Actor category. It presumably has something to do with the Los Angeles Times publishing the accounts of five women who accused Franco of “inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior.” In fact, the only nomination Franco’s The Disaster Artist picked up was one for Best Adapted Screenplay, which was written by two men who are not Franco: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. His film was otherwise shut out of the nominations altogether—a sharp contrast from the Golden Globes, where Franco took home the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy trophy. This was, of course, days before the Times story hit.
Compare that with Christopher Plummer’s nomination from the otherwise ignored All the Money in the World. Voters seemed to rally behind the replacement for Kevin Spacey, who was removed from Ridley Scott’s film after his own sexual-misconduct scandal broke. But as we seem to be approaching a more “woke” awards season—including nominees of color and women like Mary J. Blige, Dee Rees, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Greta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele, to name a few—it seems that the #MeToo movement and the attempt to avoid another #OscarsSoWhite means that Hollywood is very much focused on what’s right in front of its face.
Take for instance how Franco’s notable absence loses its impact when you realize Gary Oldman still received a nomination for Best Actor.
Oldman, 59, was nominated for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour (also nominated for Best Picture), but the character actor’s dark past is readily searchable on the internet and was reported on in the lead-up to awards season. It seems with men like Oldman and Mel Gibson, the Academy is ready to live and let live. The sins of the past are not the sins of today.
In 2001, Oldman’s then-wife Donya Fiorentino filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that Oldman assaulted her with a telephone in front of their children. According to the New York Daily News, Fiorentino said, “As I picked up the phone to call the police, Gary put his hand on my neck and squeezed. I backed away, with the phone receiver in my hand. I tried to dial 911. Gary grabbed the phone receiver from my hand, and hit me in the face with the telephone receiver three or four times. Both of the children were crying.” Oldman has denied the allegations and claimed, “[the accusations are] replete with lies, innuendoes, and half-truths.”
But that disturbing alleged incident aside, he also has a history of making light of bad behavior when it pertains to men like Gibson.