Brie Larson wins the Oscars
Brie Larson personifies what the Academy Awards should be. She is pure elegance and grace and yet unapologetic, defiant even, when it comes to who is and who is not deserving of her praise. When she presented the Academy Award for Best Actor to Casey Affleck (the second time she has presented him a major award this season), Larson stepped back from the standing ovation and stood to the right of the stage stoically, unsmiling, and sublime. Her refusing to applause rang louder than any other cheers in the room.
27-year-old Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2016 for her powerful portrayal of a young woman — Ma — who is held captive for seven years and suffers unspeakable domestic abuse. Since then, Larson has become an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual assault. It is no wonder that having to present a major award to Affleck (twice) left a sour taste in her mouth.
In 2010, Affleck was accused of sexually harassing two women whilst filming of I’m Still Here. Amanda White and Magdalena Groka — a producer and a cinematographer respectively — spoke out about his rude and lewd behaviour. According to White, this includes included asking a crew member to show her his penis despite her repeated objections and regularly referred to women as ‘cows’, according to The Daily Beast. Both suits were settled out of court.
For too long, victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault have had to watch alleged perpetrators stand up and be celebrated in Hollywood and across the world stage. Whilst, of course, there is a huge and important difference between ‘accused’ and ‘convicted’, the distance between those two words are usually lengthened by privilege, wealth, and fame.
Affleck is not alone in this privilege. Roman Polanski has had a distinguished career and was recently asked to preside over the esteemed Cesar Awards despite pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-girl in 1977 (he fled the country before he could be sentenced). Woody Allen remains a darling of cinema despite allegedly molesting one of his step-daughters. And then there is Donald Trump.
Brie Larson is an example of how actors can use their platform to help raise everyone else around them and it is small acts of resistance like this that gives us all a little boost.